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Festival of the Flowers Protomayia and Labor Day May 1

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Holiday: May 1

Greek FlagThe Flower Festival (Protomayia / Πρωτομαγιά) in Greece has its roots in an ancient holiday called "Festival of the Flowers" which was associated with the Greek Gods Demeter and Persephone and the peak of the flower season. May 1st, or May (Maios / Μάιος) Day, is also International Workers Day, a holiday originating from the Soviet Union in the 1880's and celebrating labor and the working classes.

The word Protomayia derives from two Greek words, Proto meaning first and Maios for May. Parades, flower festivals, flower shows, and hanging wreaths in doorways, balconies, etc. are common ways to celebrate this day in Greece. Children make wreaths and fly homemade kites.

Flowers are collected to make the wreaths which are left up until June 24th, when they are burned in communal bonfires in honor of Saint John the Baptist. This celebration is called Klidonas (Κλήδονας) meaning sign or oracle, and is accompanied by music, dancing and jumping over the flames.

Video: Protomayia Wreath and Kite Building

Holidays in Greece

Festival of the Flowers Protomayia and Labor Day May 1