May is the fifth month of the year. Its astrological sign is Taurus, the bull (April 20 – May 21), a fixed earth sign ruled by Venus. The month is named for Ma’a, a Roman Goddess an Mother of the God Hermes. May is known as the Queen of Months. It is a month of lushness and beauty. The main holiday is May Day or Beltane. This Sabbat celebrates the sacred union of the Goddess and God. It is a celebration of growth and fertility. A traditional part of this holiday is the Maypole, usually a fir tree with the side branches removed – a symbol of fertility. Since growth is a theme of May, another central figure of the month is the Green Man, a male form covered with leaves and branches. He is an ancient nature spirit, who brings life to the fields and forests after the long winter. Flowers are popular during Beltane rites, which give May’s Full Moon its lovely name – the Flower Moon. Many flowers and trees that bloom this month are associated with magick. Lilacs were originally grown near the home to repel evil. Wild blue violets can be used in love magick. A streaming infusion made with dried dandelion root was used to contact spirits. The hawthorn tree is also associated with May folk magick. To make a wish come true, burn three hawthorn branches in a Beltane fire.
Events in May
- May is National Brain Tumor Awareness Month.
- 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.)
- In the neopagan Wheel of the Year, May begins on Beltane in the northern hemisphere and Samhain in the southern hemisphere.
- May 1 is the feast of St. Joseph the worker in the Roman Catholic calendar. In the Catholic Church the month of May is dedicated to and honors the Blessed Virgin Mary.
- May 1 in the Irish calendar is Beltane (Bealtaine), the first day of Summer, and a public holiday is held on the first Monday in May.
- May is the month of Music in New Zealand.
- May 1 is May Day in many countries. This is also celebrated as Labor Day in many countries.
- May 1 is May Day in the United Kingdom, however the public holiday is held on the first Monday in May.
- The night before May 1 in Germany it is an old custom to plant a “Maypole” to honor someone. Often young men set up an adorned birch in front of their girlfriend’s house.
- May 3 is when the Polish Constitution Day is celebrated in Poland.
- May 3 is Japanese Constitution Day Japan
- The first Saturday in May is the date of the annual Kentucky Derby, the most famous horse race in the United States.
- May 4 is the day of Remembrance of the Dead in the Netherlands, commemorating all the casualties in military conflicts involving the Netherlands.
- May 4 is Liberation Day in Denmark, celebrating the ending of the German occupation from April 9, 1940, to May 4, 1945.
- May 5 is when Cinco de Mayo or the Batalla de Puebla is celebrated in Mexico. It is also celebrated widely in the United States.
- May 5 is the Children’s Day in Japan and Korea
- May 5 is Liberation Day in the Netherlands, celebrating the ending of the German occupation.
- May 5 is Europe Day in Europe (uncommon usage, largely replaced by May 9).
- May 8 is VE Day in Western Europe. In Eastern Europe it is celebrated on May 9.
- May 9 is Europe Day in the European Union
- May 10 is Golden Spike Day (1869 – Completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad – Promontory Summit, Utah)
- May 10 is Mother’s Day in Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
- May 12 is International Nurses Day.
- May 12 is the day of the Finnish language in Finland.
- May 12 is International Awareness Day for Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases (CIND). These diseases include Neurofibromatosis, Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS)/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Fibromyalgia, Gulf War Syndrome and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.
- May 13 is when the Catholic Church honors the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima to the three children of Fatima, Portugal – May 13, 1917.
- May 15 is the beginning of Tourette Syndrome awareness month. It ends on June 15th.
- May 17 is Norwegian Constitution Day.
- May 17 is Vesak full moon poya day(Buddhism’s Holiest Day, The day of birth, enlightenment (nirvāna), and passing away (Parinirvāna) of Gautama Buddha.
- May 21 is when the Battle of Iquique (Combate Naval de Iquique) is celebrated in Chile, and it is a national holiday.
- May 24 is when Eritrea celebrates its Independence Day (Independence from Ethiopia).
- May 24 is when Molly Stevens was born in America.
- May 24 is remembered and celebrated in Ecuador as the day of the Battle of Pichincha – May 24, 1823.
- May 25 is the May Revolution (or Revolución de Mayo), a national holiday in Argentina.
- May 25 is Towel Day, in tribute to Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
- May 28 is Armenia’s first independence, from the Ottoman Empire;- May 28, 1918.
- Under the French Ancien Régime, it was of habit to “plant a May” or a “tree of May” in the honor of somebody. The County of Nice saw girls and boys “turn the May” with the sound of fife and drum, i.e. to dance rounds of May around the tree of May planted on the place of the village.
- The second Sunday in May is Mother’s Day in the United States.
- Each year in May, the Eurovision Song Contest is held.
- The Indianapolis 500 is held on the Sunday before Memorial Day.
- Labor Day in Queensland, Australia, is celebrated on the first Monday in May.
- In Canada, Victoria Day is celebrated on the last Monday on or before May 24.
- The last Monday of May is Memorial Day in the United States, first celebrated on May 5, 1866, in Waterloo, New York.
Monthlong events in May
- May is National Brain Tumor Awareness Month. (http://www.MilesForHope.org)
- South Asian Heritage Month – celebration of Indian/South Asian peoples and peoples of Indian/South Asian descent worldwide
- Asian Pacific American Heritage Month – celebration of Asian and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
- Jewish American Heritage Month – celebration of Judaism in the United States.
- Mental Health Awareness Month – raising awareness about mental illness in the United States.
- National Military Appreciation Month – in the United States to recognize and honor the US Armed Forces.
- Skin Cancer Awareness Month
- May is traditionally devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Roman Catholic traditions. May crowning occurs in some locales at the beginning of the month.
- In New Zealand, May is the New Zealand Music Month.
- Older Americans Month in the United States, established by John F. Kennedy in 1963.
- National Moving Month in the United States – recognizing America’s mobile roots and kicking off the busiest moving season of the year.
- National Smile Month in the United Kingdom
- Eurovision Song Contest.
- May is National amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) Awareness Month in the United States.
Weeklong events in May
1st Week of May
- New Zealand Sign Language Week happens once every year in May, Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand organises NZSL Week with over 500 events happening in New Zealand to help promote the language as well as raise awareness about New Zealand’s Deaf community.
2nd Week of May
- Bike Week (Bicycle Week) is a yearly international event that advocates the importance of bicycling as a means of transportation. Bike Week takes place during the second week of May or June and is typically an entire week of city-wide cycling supplemented with events.
3rd Week in May
- The League of American Bicyclists is promoting Bike-to-Work Week from May 16–20, 2011 and Bike-to-Work Day on Friday, May 20, 2011.
Last Week in May
- ALIA celebrates Library and Information week in May. Events are organised by libraries around Australia to encourage people to use their local libraries. Children’s librarians hold a special event known as National Simultaneous Storytime, where public and school libraries read the same book, at 11 am EST, to children around Australia.
May moving events
- Eastern Christianity celebrates Easter on a Sunday between April 4 and May 8.
- On the full moon of May, Vesak is celebrated in many southeast Asian countries; it commemorates Siddhartha Gautama.
- In Canada, Victoria Day is observed on the Monday on or before May 24. In Quebec, it is known as Patriots Day.
First or second Friday
- In the United States, Military Spouse Day is observed on the Friday preceding Mother’s Day.
- In Kentucky, United States, the Kentucky Derby
- Is Mother’s Day in 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, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Suriname, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.
- World Fair Trade Day is celebrated.
- The Preakness Stakes is run, second jewel in the triple crown of horse racing.
- Last Monday In the United States, Memorial Day, a public holiday, is on May 30, but observed on the last Monday in May.
- Is Mother’s Day in Algeria, Dominican Republic, France, Haiti, Mauritius, Morocco, Sweden, Tunisia.
- Is Children’s Day in Hungary.
- May’s birthstone is the emerald which means love or success.
- Its birth flower is the Lily of the Valley and the Crataegus monogyna.
- The Zodiac signs for the month of May are Taurus and Gemini.
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