May 1st is two things:
1. An ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival and usually a public holiday it is also a traditional spring holiday in many cultures. May Day is related to the Celtic festival of Beltane and the Germanic festival of Walpurgis Night. May Day falls exactly half a year from November 1, another cross-quarter day which is also associated with various northern European pagan and the year in the Northern hemisphere, and it has traditionally been an occasion for popular and often raucous celebrations.
2. International Workers’ Day (also known as May Day) is a celebration of the international labor movement and left-wing movements. It commonly sees organized street demonstrations and marches by working people and their labor unions throughout most of the world. May 1 is a national holiday in more than 80 countries. It is also celebrated unofficially in many other countries.
In Madison, WI, there are some events happening (more in relation to the second definition):
Tues. May 1st 5:00 pm State St. Corner of the State Capitol.
May Day Rally for International Workers Day! We are the 99% – Recall the 1% No Cuts, No Austerity, Not One More Concessions To Big Money. Restoration of ALL Labor Rights to ALL Workers. Roll Back All Wage And Benefit Cuts. Jobs For All – National Plan to Create Jobs, Now! No More Criminalization of the Poor – Equal Rights to All. From Spain to Greece to Egypt to Wisconsin!
Tues. May 1st 6:30 pm Goodman Library (2222 S. Park St.)
Local author Jane Anne Morris on “Gaveling Down the Rabble: How ‘Free Trade’ is Stealing Our Democracy – with local author and corporate anthropologist, Jane Anne Morris.This discussion is part of the Jane Addams Book Club series, sponsored by the Madison Branch of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).
And, for all you Anarchist/anti-authoritarian types, check out: