May Day!

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In almost every country but the U.S. and Canada, today is a holiday International Workers’ Day, or May Day, a celebration of the social and economic achievements of the international labor movement. The origins of the holiday stretch back to pagan times, but its modern incarnation was first proposed at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889.

(Both the United States and Canada, by the way, began celebrating Labor Day in September in the early 1880s, which is why most of us are still at work today.)

As a sort of phonetic aside, I’ve recently learned that the word Mayday was first used as a distress signal in England in 1923. Its origins: the French m’aider, which means help me!

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