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Monday, May 01, 2006

May Day

May 1st may be the day that we label as Labour Day but it is a great many things all encompassed under the rather falsely alarming appellation of May Day (which is, as we all know, only a problem if you are onboard a plane that is visibly losing both velocity and altitude...)
Among the other more... ah, shall we say (or type really)... exotic things celebrated on May Day historically were, in no particular order: "Morris dancing, crowning a May Queen, celebrating Green Man day and dancing around a Maypole"
And that is only "auld traditions" in England!
In the Açores (which we have just visited here on TLB Prime, thanks to my luminous slideshow... remember?!?) May 1st is "o dia do maio" and the "maio" in question is a sort of a scarecrow - a homemade mannequin that people leave on their porch to scare off any door-to-door salesmen... or visitors, outright!
All of that actually goes against the concept of labor - and quite sharply at times too! But that is another story...

Me, I just marvel at the fact that the Word of the Day for Monday May 1, 2006 is...
luminary \LOO-muh-nair-ee\, noun:
1. Any body that gives light, especially one of the heavenly bodies.
2. A person of eminence or brilliant achievement.

Those who came to the Pyrenees sought the sublime in the mountains and the exotic in the population, drawn by the descriptions of ethnographers and literary luminaries like Vigny, Sand, Baudelaire and Flaubert.
-- Ruth Harris, Lourdes

. . .such jazz luminaries as Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Jimmie Lunceford, Louis Armstrong, and Earl Hines.
-- Daniel Mark Epstein, Nat King Cole

There's something comforting in those occasional lapses when a luminary lurches and trips over the humble stone his powerful torch somehow failed to reveal.
-- Brad Leithauser, "You Haven't Heard the Last of This", New York Times, August 30, 1998

Luminary derives from Latin luminare, "a window," from lumin-, lumen, "light."
Copyright © 2006, Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. All rights reserved.


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