May Day: A Day to Celebrate!

So What is May Day?

You have heard of May Day, and you know it is on May 1st every year, but do you know what it is?  Do you know why we call May 1st “May Day”?  There are a number of reasons, and they all are reasons to celebrate!

The Beginning

In ancient Ireland, the Celts measured the year by the path of the sun.  They divided the year into four quarters, called Quarter Days (the solstices and equinoxes), then divided each section in half, which gave them cross-quarter days.  These divisions not only echoed the four seasons, but they fit the sequences of their farming cycle.

What we now know as May 1st was the Celts Beltane, which marked the halfway point between spring equinox and summer solstice, and was considered the beginning of summer.  Seeds had been planted and were beginning to sprout, so May Day became a day to celebrate. 

May Day Traditions

After Roman Catholicism swept through Europe and the British Isles, May Day evolved into more than just a celebration of the sprouting crops.  As the old saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers”, so the first day of May became a day to celebrate the beauty of spring flowers.  Dancing around the maypole was part of festivals, which would include plays, dance performances, and the crowning of a “May Queen”.

Christianity also introduced the “May crowning”, where artists would create works featuring the Virgin Mary wearing a crown of flowers.  In 1955, Pope Pius XII chose May Day as a feast day to honor St Joseph the Worker. 

Another tradition, which has faded over the years, is the tradition of giving “May baskets”.  These small baskets were filled with flowers or sweets, or a combination of both, and left on a neighbor’s doorstep anonymously.  The person giving the basket was to knock on the door and yell, “May basket!”, then run off.  If the neighbor caught the person as they were fleeing, the recipient was entitled to a kiss.

How Will You Celebrate May Day?

Now that you know what May Day is and how it was observed in the past, what will you do to honor this long-standing holiday?  If you are an outdoor enthusiast, you could go for a walk and enjoy all the beautiful flowers in your neighborhood.  Maybe this year would be a good time to bring back the May basket tradition.

Another option to welcome summer is to pack up all of your winter items and pull out the summer stuff! If you need a place to put those coats, skis, and sleds, look no further than Safeguard Self Storage.  We have a variety of sizes available to suit just about any need and with over 73 locations, we are likely located in your neighborhood. 

How to Celebrate Earth Day Everyday

At Safeguard, we do our part to help our planet every year by expanding our number of green storage centers, including our self storage facility in East Williamsburg. But we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t take expensive solar panels, LED lighting or major life changes to make a positive impact on our planet. If you're wondering how to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, we have some great, environmentally friendly ideas for you. Join us in making these 10 earth-friendly resolutions, and we promise you’ll leave the world a better place.

1. Choose Green Transportation

Whether you’d like to ride a bicycle or hop on the public transportation system, the less you drive a car, the better. Individual passenger vehicles contribute multiple metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year. By choosing green transportation, you are eliminating a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions. Plus, if you ride a bike, you will get a great workout, too!

2. Grow Your Own Food

Have you ever thought about why the non-native produce you eat is in season all year long? The answer is simple: transportation. Because the produce industry relies heavily on fossil fuels to transport food all over the country, it contributes to a significant amount of carbon emissions. By growing your own produce—including things like tomatoes, cucumbers, or peppers—you can incrementally reduce the amount of shipping that’s necessary to get those ripe veggies to your local grocer.

3. Plant a Tree

Trees are like nature’s filters, not to mention they provide habitat to 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. By planting a tree, you’re helping to clean the air we breathe, as trees absorb harmful pollutants and release clean oxygen back out into the atmosphere. Plus, if you plant one near your home, you can enjoy watching it grow over the years and take pride in your accomplishment.

4. Create a Compost Bin

If you start to think about the amount of trash humans produce, you can get overwhelmed extremely quickly. As the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States, landfills are contributing to the degradation of our planet rapidly. Rather than tossing out food waste or organics for them to end up in the nearest dump, you can create a compost bin at home. You can put things like fruit scraps, old vegetables, and coffee grounds in your compost bin, which will benefit the soil and prevent harmful greenhouse gases from damaging the atmosphere.

5. Shop Smart

At this point, you know how bad plastic is for the environment. Plastic has become such a widespread problem that most wild-caught seafood has microplastics inside them! Fight plastic pollution by shopping with reusable bags, avoiding plastic take-out containers, and choosing not to use plastic straws. Buy fresh, non-packaged food at the grocery store, and support local organic farmers markets that don’t pack their foods in plastic wrap.

6. Bottle Your Water

Don't contribute to the 50 billion water bottles headed for our landfills and oceans every year! Resolve to always use reusable water bottles. Make sure to keep a backup with you in your office or car so you’re never without one.

7. Save Energy

If you have a faulty, outdated HVAC system or improperly sealed windows and doors, your home is contributing to higher-than-average carbon emissions; not to mention you’re likely paying a fortune in utility bills. Consider servicing or upgrading your HVAC system, installing an energy-efficient thermostat, and ensuring all the openings in your space are properly sealed.

8. Pick Up Trash

Trash is everywhere, and many of the discarded items you find on the street are recyclable. If you see litter, do your part by picking it up and placing it in the nearest trash can or recycle bin. There’s strength in numbers, so try to organize a litter patrol in your neighborhood. Your team could offer to pick up trash around a local school or adopt a nearby park. Remember, try to recycle as much litter as applicable!

9. Make Connections

Connect with local organizations that support earth-friendly activities. Learn about events happening online or ask neighbors for information about groups that need your help.

10. Create Awareness

Start your own Earth Day awareness movement with a catchy hashtag. Mobilize social media to promote planting trees, recycling, and showing our planet the love it deserves. It’s important to let others know that even small acts of earthly kindness will go along away, and there’s no better way to promote this message than on Earth Day!

Our Green Self Storage Solutions

Since 2014, Safeguard Self Storage has done our part to celebrate Earth Day in a big way. That's when we transitioned to green solutions with solar panel installations at our storage facilities in New York and New Jersey—including our East Williamsburg self storage facility.

Ongoing, we're committed to this green policy, as solar panel installations at our self storage sites continue to expand with our Illinois facilities being next in line to go green. Our solar panels meet over 90% of our energy needs with clean, renewable power, which makes us the perfect place to store your belongings while protecting the environment.

If you’re in need of self storage in East Williamsburg, NY, Safeguard is proud to provide you with energy-efficient storage solutions. Join us in celebrating Earth Day this year!