Today is May 1st so I thought it timely to say welcome to May. It is actually an ancient European Spring Festival celebration so if you want you can go and dance around the May pole and not feel ridiculous. But that has nothing to do with stamps. So I will just stay with philatelic themes. First, on May 1st 1840 the Penny Black became available for sale, to be used from 6th May. Jumping fast forward 178 years, on May 1st 2018 the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum opened an exhibition titled Postmen of the Skies. This celebrated 100 years of Airmail service. If you have not been it is still open but only for another 29 days. It closes on 29th May 2019. There was of course a special issue stamp. The United States Postal Service commemorated the beginning of airmail services by dedicating two United States Air Mail Forever stamps. The first, depicted in blue, commemorates the pilots who first flew the mail in the early years of aviation. I have added another recent issue which I think is far more attractive.
And finally, perhaps best known, is that 1st May is known as May Day. It is also known as Labour Day or International Workers’ Day and is a national holiday in more than 80 countries and celebrated unofficially in many others. Many stamps probably come to mind. I have chosen this one for us to see.
The date was chosen in 1904 at the Sixth Conference of the Second International by a pan-national organization of socialist and communist political parties to commemorate the Haymarket Affair although the day was first proposed back in the 1880s and I think celebrated from about 1886. It called on “all Social Democratic Party organisations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on the First of May for the legal establishment of the 8 hour day for the class demands of the proletariat and for universal peace” Well we got the 8 hour day. Still working on the peace bit.
Oh, and if you are in the USA or Canada, yes I know they have Labour Day on the first Monday of September.
And, if you really want to be entertained, try reading more about May 1st, especially the history behind the ancient spring festival, absolutely fascinating history. So many “events” are actually celebrated on May 1st. Perhaps it has something to do with the ancient spring festival karma!
Enjoy and learn from your philately.