May 1, 1954

In Ireland the Irish word Bealtaine is the word used for May Day. Medieval Ireland marked this day as the changing of the seasons from spring to summer. The occasion was marked with bonfires in the hope that all would bode well for the coming harvest. May is also the month that Catholics devote to Mary the mother of God, and in Ireland the tradition of putting up a May altar in one’s home became a regular feature. A huge procession in Dublin in 1954 marked the Marian Year, as declared by Pope Pious in honor of Mary. Statues, shrines and replicas of the Lourdes Grotto, were erected in parishes all over Ireland during this year.

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