These days Mayday for many is associated with Anti-capitalist demonstrations and actions against MacDonalds. Thirty years ago its connotations were more with shows of Soviet military might in Red Square. However Mayday originated as a pagan festive holy day celebrating the first spring planting. The Celts and Saxons celebrated May 1st as Beltane, which means the day of fire. Bel was the Celtic god of the sun. Celebrations began on the eve of Mayday with feasting celebrating the end of winter and return of the sun. Fires would be lit on the tops of hills and wooden wheels would be set alight and rolled down. These celebrations continued in Britain until the 1700's when they were outlawed by the church. However, many rural communities carried on pre-Christian rites such as the election of a May Queen and Maypole dancing. These were gradually absorbed by the church and carry on to this day in many parts of the British Isles. Fully illustrated, this book looks at the origins of Mayday and features a gazetteer of surviving Mayday traditions - such as the Obby Oss at Padstow; the Sweeps Festival at Rochester and Well dressing in Derbyshire.