May is a month of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. Therefore, May in the Southern Hemisphere is the seasonal equivalent of November in the Northern Hemisphere and vice versa. Late May typically marks the start of the summer vacation season in the United States and Canada and ends on Labor Day, first Monday of September.
The month May was named for the Greek Goddess Maia, who was identified with the Roman era goddess of fertility, Bona Dea, whose festival was held in May. Conversely, the Roman poet Ovid provides a second etymology, in which he says that the month of May is named for the maiores, Latin for “elders,” and that the following month (June) is named for the iuniores, or “young people” (Fasti VI.88).
Mayovka, in the context of the late Russian Empire, was a picnic in the countryside or in a park in the early days of May, hence the name. Eventually, “mayovka” (specifically, “proletarian mayovka”) came to mean an illegal celebration of May 1 by revolutionary public, typically presented as an innocent picnic.
Eta Aquariids meteor shower appears in May. It is visible from about April 21 to about May 20 each year with peak activity on or around May 6. The Arietids shower from May 22 – July 2, and peaks on June 7. The Virginids also shower at various dates in May.
Ancient Roman observances
Under the calendar of ancient Rome, the festival of Bona Dea fell on May 1, Argei fell on May 14 or May 15, Agonalia fell on May 21, and Ambarvalia on May 29. Floralia was held April 27 during the Republican era, or April 28 on the Julian calendar, and lasted until May 3. Lemuria (festival) fell on 9,11, and 13 May under the Julian calendar. The College of Aesculapius and Hygia celebrated two festivals of Rosalia (festival), one on May 11 and one on May 22. Rosalia was also celebrated at Pergamon on May 24–26. A military Rosalia festival, Rosaliae signorum, also occurred on May 31. Ludi Fabarici was celebrated on May 29 – June 1. Mercury would receive a sacrifice on the Ides of May (May 15). Tubilustrium took place on May 23 as well as in March. These dates do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar.
- May’s birthstone is the emerald which is emblematic of love and success.
- The May birth flower is the Lily of the Valley and the Crataegus monogyna. It is native throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere in Asia, Europe, and in the southern Appalachian Mountains in the United States, but has been naturalized throughout the temperate climactic world.
- The “mayflower” Epigaea repens is a North American harbinger of May, and the floral emblem of both Nova Scotia and Massachusetts. Its native range extends from Newfoundland south to Florida, west to Kentucky in the southern range, and to Northwest Territories in the north.
- The zodiac signs for the month of May are Taurus (until May 20) and Gemini (May 21 onwards).
- In Catholic tradition, May is the Month of the Blessed Virgin Mary. See May devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary
- Celiac Awareness Month
- Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month.
- Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Awareness month
- International Mediterranean Diet Month
- National Mobility Awareness Month (United States, Canada)
- Season of Emancipation (April 14 to August 23) (Barbados)
- Better Hearing and Speech Month
- Kaamatan harvest festival (Labuan, Sabah)
- National Electrical Safety Month (United States)
- Flores de Mayo (Philippines)
- Garden for Wildlife month
- New Zealand Music Month (New Zealand)
- National Pet Month (United Kingdom)
- Skin Cancer Awareness Month
- National Smile Month (United Kingdom)
- South Asian Heritage Month (International)
- World Trade Month
- Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
- National ALS Awareness Month
- National Innovators Month
- National Brain Tumor Awareness Month
- National Burger Month
- Community Action Awareness Month (North Dakota, United States)
- National Foster Care Month (United States)
- National Golf Month
- Jewish American Heritage Month
- Haitian Heritage Month
- Hepatitis Awareness Month
- Mental Health Awareness Month
- National Military Appreciation Month
- National Moving Month
- Older Americans Month
- National Osteoporosis Month
- National Stroke Awareness Month
- National Water Safety Month
- National Corps Member Appreciation Month
Non-Gregorian observances, 2018
(Please note that all Baha’i, Islamic, and Jewish observances begin at the sundown prior to the date listed, and end at sundown of the date in question unless otherwise noted.)
Movable observances, 2018
- Phi Ta Khon (Dan Sai, Loei province, Isan, Thailand) Dates are selected by village mediums and can take place anywhere between March and July.
- National Stuttering Awareness Week (United States): May 7-13
- National Small Business Week (United States)
- National Hurricane Preparedness Week (United States)
- Green Office Week (Britain)
- New Zealand Sign Language Week
- Occupational Safety and Health Professional Day
- Bike Week (Bicycle Week) (United States
- Walk Safely to School Day
- Emergency Medical Services Week (United States)
- Bike to Work Week Victoria
Last Friday in April to the first Sunday in May: April 27 – May 6
First Tuesday: May 1
First Thursday: May 3
- Arbor Day (Nova Scotia, Canada)
- National Day of Prayer (United States)
- National Day of Reason (United States)
Friday preceding Second Sunday in May: May 4
First Saturday: May 5
First full week: May 6-12
- National Teacher Appreciation Week (United States)
- North American Occupational Safety and Health Week (United States)
Week of May 12: May 6-12
- National Nursing Week (United States)
First Sunday: May 6
- Mother’s Day (Angola, Cape Verde, Hungary, Lithuania, Mozambique, Portugal, Romania, Spain)
- World Laughter Day
Tuesday of First full week: May 8
Saturday closest to May 10:
- International Migratory Bird Day (Canada, the United States, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean)
- National Tree Planting Day (Mongolia)
- National Nursing Home Week (United States)
- Children’s Day (Spain)
- Father’s Day (Romania)
- Mother’s Day (Anguilla, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bonaire, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Croatia, Curaçao, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Latvia, Malta, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Suriname, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe)
- State Flag and State Emblem Day (Belarus)
- World Fair Trade Day
- Arbor Day (Prince Edward Island, Canada)
- National Defense Transportation Day
- National Defense Transportation Week is the week in which National Transportation Day falls.
- Endangered Species Day (United States)
- National Pizza Party Day (United States)
- The Preakness Stakes is run, second jewel in the triple crown of horse racing.
- Culture Freedom Day
- Armed Forces Day (United States)
- World Whisky Day
- Sanja Matsuri
- Commemoration Day of Fallen Soldiers
- Father’s Day (Tonga)
- Feast of Our Lady of the Audience
- Sanja Matsuri (Tokyo, Japan)
Monday on or before May 24:
Monday on or before May 25:
Last Monday preceding May 25:
May 24, or the nearest weekday if May 24 falls on a weekend:
- Bermuda Day (Bermuda)
- Take a Girl Child to Work Day (South Africa)
Saturday closest to May 30:
- Armed Forces Day (Spain)
- Arbor Day (Venezuela)
- Children’s Day (Hungary)
- Mother’s Day (Algeria, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mauritius, Morocco, Sweden, Tunisia)
- Turkmen Carpet Day (Turkmenistan)
- Heroes’ Day (Turks and Caicos Islands)
- Memorial Day (United States), a public holiday, is on May 30, but observed on the last Monday in May.
- Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Day (Fiji), removed as a national holiday in 2010.
Movable Western Christian observances, 2018 dates
- Rogation Sunday – May 6
- Earth Day Sunday: May 6 (some Protestant denominations) (Sunday before Earth Day)
- Minor Rogation days – May 7–9
- Feast of the Ascension – May 10
- Pentecost begins: May 20
- Whitsun: May 20
- Whit Monday: May 21
- Whit Tuesday: May 22
- Feast of Christ the Priest: May 24 (first Thursday after start of Pentecost)
- Whit Friday: May 25 (North West England)
- Trinity Sunday: May 27
- Corpus Christi (feast): May 31
Movable Eastern Christian observances, 2018 dates
- Mid-Pentecost: May 2 (Wednesday after the Sunday of the Paralytic)
- Sunday of the Samaritan Woman – May 6 (5th Sunday of Pascha)
- Sunday of the Blind Man – May 13 (6th Sunday of Pascha)
- Feast of the Ascension – May 17 (forty days after Pascha)
- Sunday of the Holy Fathers: May 20 (7th Sunday of Pascha)
- Saturday of the Dead: May 26 (7th Saturday of Pascha)
- Pentecost: May 27 (Fifty days after Pascha)
- Day of the Holy Spirit: May 28
- Third Day of the Trinity: May 29
Fixed observances in May
- April 29 to May 5 in Japan, which includes four different holidays, is called “Golden Week“. Many workers have up to 10 days off. There is also ‘May sickness’, where new students or workers start to be tired of their new routine. (In Japan the school year and fiscal year start on April 1.)
- May 1
- May 2
- May 3
- May 4
- Anti-Bullying Day (United Nations)
- Bird Day (United States)
- Cassinga Day (Namibia)
- Death of Milan Rastislav Štefánik Day (Slovakia)
- Greenery Day (Japan)
- International Firefighters’ Day
- May Fourth Movement commemorations:
- Remembrance Day for Martyrs and Disabled (Afghanistan)
- Remembrance of the Dead (Netherlands)
- Restoration of Independence day (Latvia)
- Star Wars Day (International observance)
- World Give Day
- Youth Day (Fiji)
- May 5
- Children’s Day (Japan, Korea)
- Cinco de Mayo
- Constitution Day (Kyrgyzstan)
- Coronation Day (Thailand)
- Europe Day in Europe (uncommon usage, largely replaced by May 9).
- Feast of al-Khadr or Saint George (Palestinian)
- Indian Arrival Day (Guyana)
- International Midwives’ Day
- Liberation Day (Denmark)
- Liberation Day (Netherlands)
- Lusophone Culture Day (Community of Portuguese Language Countries)
- Martyrs’ Day (Albania)
- Patriots’ Victory Day (Ethiopia)
- Senior Citizens Day (Palau)
- Tango no sekku (Japan)
- May 6
- Martyrs’ Day (Gabon)
- Martyrs’ Day (Lebanon and Syria)
- International No Diet Day
- Teachers’ Day (Jamaica)
- The first day of Hıdırellez (Turkey)
- St George’s Day related observances (Eastern Orthodox Church):
- May 7
- May 8
- Miguel Hidalgo’s birthday (Mexico)
- Parents’ Day (South Korea)
- Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during the Second World War, continues to May 9
- Truman Day (Missouri, United States)
- White Lotus Day (Theosophy)
- World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day
- Veterans Day (Norway)
- VE Day in Western Europe. In Eastern Europe it is celebrated on May 9.
- May 9
- Anniversary of Dianetics (Church of Scientology)
- Europe Day (European Union)
- Liberation Day (Guernsey), commemorating the end of the German occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II.
- Liberation Day (Jersey), commemorating the end of the German occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II.
- Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during the Second World War, continued from May 8.
- Victory Day observances, celebration of the Soviet Union victory over Nazi Germany (Soviet Union, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan)
- Victory Day over Nazism in World War II (Ukraine)
- Victory and Peace Day (Armenia) marks both the capture of Shusha (1992) in the Nagorno-Karabakh War, and the end of World War II.
- May 10
- Children’s Day (Maldives)
- Confederate Memorial Day (North Carolina and South Carolina)
- Constitution Day (Federated States of Micronesia)
- Golden Spike Day (1869 – Completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad – Promontory Summit, Utah)
- Independence Day (Romania), celebrating the declaration of independence of Romania from the Ottoman Empire in 1877.
- Liberation Day (Sark), commemorating the end of the German occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II.
- May 11
- May 12
- May 13
- May 14
- May 15
- Beginning of Tourette Syndrome awareness month. It ends on June 15
- Argei (Ancient Rome)
- Army Day (Slovenia)
- Constituent Assembly Day (Lithuania)
- Independence Day (Paraguay)
- International Day of Families
- Mercuralia (Ancient Rome)
- Nakba Day (Palestinian communities)
- Peace Officers Memorial Day (United States)
- Republic Day (Lithuania)
- Saint Ubaldo Day
- Teachers’ Day (Colombia, Mexico, South Korea)
- May 16
- May 17
- National Day Against Homophobia (Canada)
- International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia aka IDAHO
- Birthday of the Raja (Perlis)
- Children’s Day (Norway)
- Constitution Day (Nauru)
- Galician Literature Day (Galicia (Spain))
- World Hypertension Day
- World Information Society Day
- Liberation Day (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
- Navy Day (Argentina)
- Norwegian Constitution Day
- May 18
- Baltic Fleet Day (Russia)
- Battle of Las Piedras Day (Uruguay)
- Day of Remembrance of Crimean Tatar genocide (Ukraine)
- Flag and Universities Day (Haiti)
- Independence Day (Somaliland) (unrecognized)
- International Museum Day
- Mullivaikkal Remembrance Day (Sri Lankan Tamils)
- Revival, Unity, and Poetry of Magtymguly Day (Turkmenistan)
- Teacher’s Day (Syria)
- Victory Day (Sri Lanka)
- World AIDS Vaccine Day
- May 19
- May 20
- May 21
- Afro-Colombian Day (Colombia)
- Agonalia (Roman Empire)
- Circassian Day of Mourning (Circassians)
- Day of Patriots and Military (Hungary)
- Navy Day (Chile)
- Saint Helena Day, celebrates the discovery of Saint Helena in 1502.
- World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (International)
- One of the three festivals of Vejovis (Roman Empire)
- May 22
- Abolition Day (Martinique)
- Harvey Milk Day (California)
- International Day for Biological Diversity (International)
- National Maritime Day (United States)
- National Sovereignty Day (Haiti)
- Republic Day (Sri Lanka)
- Translation of the Relics of Saint Nicholas from Myra to Bari (Ukraine)
- Unity Day (Yemen)
- World Goth Day
- May 23
- May 24
- Feast of Mary Help of Christians (Roman Catholicism)
- Aldersgate Day/Wesley Day (Methodism)
- Battle of Pichincha Day (Ecuador)
- Commonwealth Day (Belize)
- Independence Day (Eritrea)
- Lubiri Memorial Day (Buganda)
- Rosalia, May 24–26. (Pergamon, Roman Empire)
- Saints Cyril and Methodius Day (Eastern Orthodox Church) and its related observance:
- Bulgarian Education and Culture and Slavonic Literature Day (Bulgaria)
- Saints Cyril and Methodius, Slavonic Enlighteners’ Day (Republic of Macedonia)
- May 25
- Africa Day (African Union)
- African Liberation Day (African Union)
- Day of Youth
- Geek Pride Day
- Independence Day (Jordan)
- Liberation Day (Lebanon)
- May Revolution (or Revolución de Mayo), a national holiday in Argentina
- International Missing Children’s Day
- Last bell (Russia, post-Soviet countries)
- Liberation Day (Lebanon)
- National Day (Argentina)
- National Missing Children’s Day (United States)
- National Tap Dance Day (United States)
- Towel Day
- May 26
- May 27
- May 28
- May 29
- May 30
- May 31
HISTORY OF MAY
May is the fifth month of the year in the Gregorian and its predecessor, the Julian calendar. Named after the Greek goddess, Maia who is also identified Bona Dea (the Roman goddess of fertility), May is the time of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, May is a season of Autumn.
Originally the third month of the year, May later moved to the fifth month when January and February were added to the calendar. It contains 31 days.
FUN FACTS ABOUT MAY
Sоmе Nаtіvе Amеrісаn tribes called the Mау full moon Thе Full Flоwеr Mооn, The Cоrn Plаntіng Mооn or thе Mіlk Mооn.
Thе Anglo Sаxоn word fоr Mау wаѕ Trі-Mіlсhі mеаnіng 3 mіlkѕ because thе grаѕѕ hаd become ѕо luѕh and grееn thаt уоu соuld mіlk thе соwѕ thrее tіmеѕ a dау!
Tо mаіntаіn a youthful арреаrаnсе аnd еnhаnсе уоur beauty, wаѕh уоur fасе іn thе dеw уоu collect оn thе morning оf thе fіrѕt of Mау.
Mаrrу іn Mау, уоu’ll ruе thе day.
It іѕ соnѕіdеrеd vеrу bad luсk tо gеt mаrrіеd іn Mау; реrhарѕ because it іѕ соnѕіdеrеd bу ѕоmе tо bе the wеddіng mоnth of thе God аnd Goddess аnd іt wоuld bе vеrу rudе tо upstage them.
Wash a blаnkеt іn Mау, уоu’ll wаѕh a dеаr one away
It is bad luck to wаѕh уоur blаnkеtѕ in May оr tо buу a new broom.
According to оnе ѕuреrѕtіtіоn, сhіldrеn bоrn this mоnth wіll be sickly аll thеіr lіvеѕ аnd саtѕ bоrn this month won’t catch mісе, but mіght bring snakes into the hоuѕе.
Good weather in May іѕ nоt necessarily a gооd thіng.
A wеt Mау brіngѕ a bіg lоаd оf hay.
A соld Mау іѕ kіndlу and fіllѕ thе bаrn finely.
Mist іn Mау аnd heat іn June makes hаrvеѕt соmе rіght soon.
Holidays, Pagan Fеѕtіvаlѕ and Imроrtаnt Dates in Mау
Bеltаnе іѕ сеlеbrаtеd on thе first оf May.
The Bоnа Dea fеѕtіvаl wаѕ сеlеbrаtеd іn аnсіеnt Rоmе оn thе fіrѕt of May.
Mау 1st was аlѕо Vinalia.
Mау 9th іѕ the Roman fеѕtіvаl of Lеmurіа.
May 15th is the bіrthdау оf thе Rоmаn God Mercury or Mercuralia
Mау 21ѕt is thе Rоmаn fеѕtіvаl Vеjоvіѕ.
May 23rd іѕ the Roman festival Rоѕаlіа
Mоthеr’ѕ Day іѕ celebrated on thе second Sunday іn Mау.
Memorial Day is сеlеbrаtеd on thе lаѕt Sundау іn Mау.
Armеd Fоrсеѕ Dау іѕ thе thіrd Sunday іn Mау.
May 5th іѕ Cіnсо De Mayo, соmmеmоrаtіng thе Mеxісаn dеfеаt of the Frеnсh at Puеblа
The Kеntuсkу Derby takes place thе fіrѕt Sunday іn May.
It is ѕаіd that King Arthur dіеd on Mау 30 542
Joan of Arс dіеd оn May 30, 1431.
10 INTЕRЕЅTІNG FАСTЅ ABOUT MАУ
10. Nаmеd аftеr Mаіа
Thе name Mау hаѕ bееn generated frоm Mаіа. Shе happens to bе a Greek Goddess, thе Goddess of fertility. Aраrt frоm thе fertility раrt, she also hарреnѕ tо bе thе Goddess of Spring аnd grоwth. May іѕ a blеѕѕеd month tо bеgіn wіth, ассоrdіng tо thе Romans!
9. Lоvе & Suссеѕѕ
Pеорlе whо аrе bоrn in May are more lіkеlу tо асhіеvе hіghеr success and mоrе lоvе in their lіfе. Evеn though іt’ѕ mostly a relative fасt, Mау people hаvе a better grasp on these elements of life thаn people bоrn in оthеr months.The bіrthѕtоnе for May is Emerald.
8. Emріrе Stаtе Buіldіng
Once the tallest building in the world and currently thе fifth tallest building in the United States, the Empire State Building opened fоr аll оn Mау 1, 1931. Thіѕ 443 mеtеr tаll buіldіng hеld thе hоnоr оf bеіng the tаllеѕt buіldіng оf USA untіl thе Wоrld Trаdе Cеntеr was completed in 1973. After the WTC attacks on 09/11/2001, the Empire State Building was temporarily the tallest but in 2014, One World Trade Center opened at a symbolic 1,776 feet.
7. Banning оf Maypoles
In 1644, Englаnd banned Mауроlеѕ. Thеѕе are роlеѕ usually mаdе оf wood аnd lоng еnоugh tо ѕtаnd аѕ a сеlеbrаtіоn prop fоr Eurореаn fеѕtіvаlѕ. Mауроlе dances аrе hеld in May, uѕuаllу оn Mау Day. Hоwеvеr, ѕоmе Eurореаn countries celebrate Mау Day in mіd-ѕummеr аѕ wеll.
6. Nеwtоn’ѕ Maypole
Evеn аftеr ѕuсh rеѕtrісtіоn, people uѕеd tо put uр mауроlеѕ to сеlеbrаtе thеіr May fеѕtіvаlѕ. One such mауроlе, which was 123 fееt long, wаѕ рut up іn Lоndоn; thіѕ wаѕ done tо оbѕеrvе Charles II’ѕ rеturn. Hоwеvеr, thіѕ maypole wаѕ lаtеr used bу Isaac Nеwtоn to ѕuрроrt his tеlеѕсоре.
5. Mау Day
May celebrates mаnу days, bеgіnnіng wіth the Mау Dау оn thе fіrѕt dау of Mау. Thіѕ іѕ also knоwn аѕ labor’s dау. Labors were dіѕреrѕеd оn Mау 4, 1886 whо had gаthеrеd dеmаndіng еіght hour wоrkdау. Pоlісе fіrеd ѕhоtѕ еndеd uр killing fоur demonstrators; аnd thе dау is recognized as the International Wоrkеr’ѕ Dау AKA Lаbоr Dау еvеr ѕіnсе.
4. Other Days in Mау
Apart from the Intеrnаtіоnаl Wоrkеr’ѕ Dау, the month оf May houses fеw оthеr dауѕ as wеll. The 2nd Sunday оf Mау is celebrated as Intеrnаtіоnаl Mоthеr’ѕ Day. Mеmоrіаl Day іѕ сеlеbrаtеd оn thе lаѕt Mоndау оf Mау. May 5 is Cinco de Mayo; оn the first Saturday of May, Kеntuсkу Derby іѕ сеlеbrаtеd іn thе USA.
3. Nо US President Died
No U.S. president has ever died in the month of May. Hоwеvеr, оn Mау twо of U.S. рrеѕіdеntѕ were bоrn. They аrе Harry S. Trumаn and Jоhn F. Kennedy.
2. Zоdіас Signs
Two Zodiac ѕіgnѕ hаvе оссuріеd thе month оf Mау. Thеу аrе Tаuruѕ and Gеmіnі.
1. The Indianapolis 500 is always held during
Memorial weekend in May.
Being the 5th month оf the year, May could have bееn a dull mоnth. But thеrе hарреnѕ to bе a lоt of іntеrеѕtіng facts аbоut this mоnth, аѕ ѕtаtеd аbоvе.
The glittering leaves of the rhododendrons
Balance and vibrate in the cool air;
While in the sky above them
White clouds chase each other.
—John Gould Fletcher (1886–1950)
May is named for the Roman goddess Maia, who oversaw the growth of plants. Learn more about the origins of the months’ names.
- May 1 is May Day. Mark the return of spring by bringing in branches of forsythia, lilacs, or other flowering shrubs from your region.
- In Hawaii, May 1 is celebrated as Lei Day. Leis are garlands or wreaths that are often made with native Hawaiian flowers and leaves. Nowadays, they are given as a symbol of greeting, farewell, affection, celebration, or honor, in the spirit of aloha. Lei Day originated in 1927, when poet Don Blanding proposed a holiday to recognize the lei’s role in Hawaiian culture. Writer Grace Tower Warren suggested May 1 for the date because it coincided with May Day, a celebration also linked to flowers. She coined the phrase, “May Day is Lei Day.” The first Lei Day observance occurred on May 1, 1928. The following year, it was made an official holiday in the territory. (Hawaii did not become a state until 1959.)
Today, Lei Day celebrations may include music, games, exhibits, and lei-making demonstrations and contests.
- Cinco de Mayo (“The Fifth of May”) celebrates the victory of the Mexicans over the French army at The Battle of Puebla in 1862.
- Sunday, May 13, is Mother’s Day! Do you have something planned to show appreciation for your mother? Learn about the history of Mother’s Day.
- May 21 is Victoria Day in Canada. This holiday celebrates the birthday of Queen Victoria.
- Monday, May 28, is Memorial Day—a poignant reminder of the tenacity of life. It’s tradition to post the flag on this day; know your American flag rules.
RECIPES FOR THE SEASON
‘Tis the season of fresh, spring ingredients! Check out our list of Spring Recipes to get inspired.
Try some of these recipes that feature the first crops of the season:
- The wedding season is almost upon us. Find out wedding weather, sunset times, folklore, and more on our Wedding Planner page.
- Don’t get stressed! We’ve got Stress and Anxiety Remedies to help provide relief.
- Spring cleaning? See homemade cleaning remedies and other tips to help you around the home.
- See our free vegetable, herb, and fruit growing guides for tips on planting, growing, and harvesting your most popular crops.
- In May, enjoy new life by attracting hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden! See our lists of plants that attract hummingbirds and plants that attract butterflies.
- Celebrate a new season of flowers by planting window boxes!
- Mid-spring is also the time when moles start coming out. See our page on how to control moles.
- Enjoy our weekly Gardening Blog for timely gardening advice!
MAY FOLKLORE AND FUN
A dry May and a leaking June
Make the farmer whistle a merry tune.
A snowstorm in May
Is worth a wagonload of hay.
Among the changing months, May stands confessed
The sweetest, and in fairest colors dressed!
–James Thomson, Scottish poet (1700–48)
- May’s full Moon, the Full Flower Moon, occurs on the 29th, at 10:20 A.M. (EDT). See the Full Moon for May Guide for facts and folklore.
- See the May 2018 Sky Watch to find out what to look for this month and the May 2018 Sky Map to navigate the night sky from your own backyard.
MAY ZODIAC SIGNS
Taurus: April 21 to May 20
Gemini: May 21 to June 20
MAY BIRTH SYMBOLS
May’s birth flower is the Hawthorn or Lily-of-the-Valley.
The hawthorn means hope, while the lily-of-the-valley symbolizes sweetness or the return of happiness. Learn more about May’s birth flowers.
May’s birthstone is the emerald. See birthstone meanings.
A few fun facts about emeralds:
- The emerald is a green type of beryl. Its color ranges from light to rich green; the more saturated hues are more valuable, especially if pure- or blue-green.
- Natural emeralds are flawed, with fractures or other materials mixed in, called inclusions, which may appear as needles, columns, or cubes of minerals or bubbles of gas or liquid. Sometimes oil or resin is added to fill fractures and improve appearance.
- Some of the best emeralds come from South American mines, although perhaps the oldest known came from Egypt. The emerald was a favorite gem of Cleopatra.
- The emerald symbolizes rebirth and fertility and was thought to grant foresight, cure various diseases, soothe nerves, improve memory, and ensure loyalty.
THIS MONTH IN HISTORY
May 23: What’s Your Name?
On this day in 1707, Swedish botanist and naturalist Carl Linnaeus was born. One of his major achievements was the formal introduction of a system of classifying and naming organisms according to genus and species, called binomial nomenclature. The method uses Latin words (a language commonly used by scholars in his day). For example, humans are classified as Homo sapiens. Homo, meaning “man,” is the genus and sapiens, meaning “wise,” is the species. Several species may exist within one genus, but each species only has one scientific name. Scientists today use a modified version of Linnaeus’s system. Because the same naming convention is used throughout the world, it eliminates much confusion when discussing organisms.
Did You Know?
Carl Linnaeus originated the use of 0 (the symbol for Mars) to mean male and 1 (the symbol for Venus) to mean female.
May 26: Terrifying Twisters
On this day in 1917, tornadoes struck central Illinois, killing 101 people. Originally thought to be just one tornado that wreaked havoc along a 293-mile-long path, the outbreak was later determined to be four to eight tornadoes. One of them lasted 4 hours and followed a track 155 miles long (including the distance traveled while in the air). Mattoon and Charleston were especially hard hit by an F4 tornado (original Fujita scale). In Mattoon, almost 500 houses were destroyed.
According to newspaper reports:
- straw was driven ½ inch deep into a tree
- a flagpole with flag was blown four blocks and planted upright in the ground
- books and other items were carried 50 to 70 miles away
According to astronomers, what is a Julian day?
Answer: The term “Julian day” can be confusing because it has several meanings, including being a date on the Julian calendar. In astronomy, however, the Julian day (or Julian day number) is the number of days that have passed since the start of a Julian period. The Julian period is a year-numbering system developed by 16th-century French astronomer Joseph Justus Scaliger. He determined that the current Julian period began on January 1, 4713 B.C. of the Julian calendar; every 7,980 years, the count of years restarts.
For dating and comparing the timing of astronomical events and observations, John Herschel and other astronomers created a day-numbering system based on Scaliger’s Julian period. There are no months in a Julian day system; it simply counts the days, and fractions of days in decimals, since the period began. Julian day 0 occurred on January 1, 4713 B.C. The Julian day starts at noon Universal Time (Greenwich Mean Time) so that nighttime astronomical events occur on one Julian day.
A Julian date includes the fraction of a Julian day. For example, on May 1, 2016 (Gregorian calendar date), at midnight (the start of the day on a common calendar) the Julian day number was 2457509, and the Julian date was 2457509.5. On May 1, 2016, at noon, the Julian day number changed to 2457510 and the Julian date to 2457510.0.
Special Days and Observances in May
The month of May has fun and interesting days to celebrate as the spring weather turns warm and you look forward to summer. You and your child can learn more about history, health conditions, and healthy living. Your school, community center, or health organizations may have events and activities planned around these dates, but you can take the lead and design an activity for your child to focus on ones that are of interest.
- Better Hearing and Speech Month
- Creative Beginnings Month
- Food Allergy Action Month
- Global Youth Traffic Safety Month
- Healthy Vision Month
- Hepatitis Awareness Month
- Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month
- Mental Health Month
- National Bike Month
- National Photo Month
- National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month
- National Military Appreciation Month
- National Inventors Month
- National Physical Fitness and Sports Month
- National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month
- Young Achievers of Tomorrow Month
- National Family Month
- National Family Reading Week (first week)
- Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week (first full week)
- National Physical Education and Sport Week (first week)
- Teacher Appreciation Week (first full week, Monday through Friday)
- Children’s Book Week (first week)
- Screen-Free Week (first week)
- Wildflower Week (first week)
- Astronomy Week (second week)
- Reading is Fun Week (second full week)
- Food Allergy Awareness Week (third week)
- National Backyard Games Week (week before Memorial Day)
Special Days and Holidays
These observances may be held on the same day each year or they may move from year to year. The dates given are only examples. Check your calendar for the exact dates for any given year.
First Four Days
- May 1 May Day
- May 1 Mother Goose Day
- May 1 Law Day
- May 1 Make a Book Day
- May 1 World Laughter Day (first Sunday)
- May 2 Sibling Appreciation Day
- May 2 Teacher Appreciation Day (Tuesday of first full week)
- May 3 Sun Day
- May 3 Kite Day
- May 4 Intergalactic Star Wars Day (May the Fourth Be With You)
- May 4 National Weather Observers Day
Next Eight Days
- May 5 Museum Lovers Day
- May 5 Cartoonist Day
- May 5 National Day of Reason (first Thursday)
- May 6 No Homework Day
- May 6 International Space Day (first Friday)
- May 6 Tuba Day (first Friday)
- May 7 Space Day (first Saturday)
- May 8 Mother’s Day
- May 8 VE Day
- May 9 National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day
- May 9 Peter Pan Day
- May 10 Windmill Day
- May 11 Eat What You Want Day
- May 12 Limerick Day
- May 12 International Migratory Bird Day
Next Six Days
- May 13 Frog Jumping Day
- May 13 Tulip Day
- May 13 Blame Someone Else Day (first Friday 13th of the year)
- May 14 Star Wars Day
- May 14 Stars and Stripes Forever Day
- May 15 International Day of Families
- May 15 Over the Rainbow Day
- May 16 Biographer’s Day
- May 17 World Telecommunications Day
- May 18 International Museum Day
- May 19 National Learn to Swim Day (third Saturday in May)
- May 20 Endangered Species Day (third Friday)
- May 21 Armed Forces Day (third Saturday)
- May 22 National Maritime Day
- May 23 World Turtle Day
- May 24 Scavenger Hunt Day
- May 25 Nerd or Geek Pride Day
- May 25 National Heat Awareness Day (last Friday)
- May 30 Memorial Day (last Monday)
6 Interesting facts about the month of May that you didn’t know!
A new month is with us; the month of the flowers, the fifth month of the year and also, the month in which huge and important celebrations take place! Welcome May!
Each month of the year has stories to tell and may, is an outstanding one!; therefore, here are 6 Interesting facts about the month of May that you didn’t know:
1. The month May was named for Maia, the Greek goddess of fertility.
2. In any given year, no month ever begins or ends on the same day of the week as May does.
3. May’s birthstone is the emerald which is emblematic of love and success.
4. May was once considered a bad luck month to get married. There is a poem that says “Marry in May and you’ll rue the day”.
5. The United Kingdom celebrates May as the National Smile Month.
6. On May 1, 1931, the Empire State Building was officially opened.