Day of Maia: Originally a Star Goddess, later older sister of the Pleiades, our name for this month comes from Her. Find the Pleiades in the sky tonight. Their reappearance heralded the coming of the growing season to the ancient Celts.
River God of the Tiber: On this date in ancient times, the Romans performed an annual purification rite consisting of the “sacrifices” of twenty-seven straw puppets to the River God of the Tiber.
Greece: Festival of Maia – in honor of the Goddess Maia of the full moon. Maia is one of the seven sisters known as the Pleiades.
Rome: Mercuralia, the Festival of Mercury. Rites would be performed at the Temple of Mercury in Rome in which those who desired his favors would sprinkle their heads, their ships and merchandise, and their businesses with water taken from the well at Porta Capena.
1995 – Archaeologists discover the largest tomb in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt; it is believed to the resting place for the sons of Ramses II.
In the ancient Roman calendar, this day was sacred to the Goddess Maia (For whom May is named) and also to Vesta, goddess of the hearth and all sacred fires. On this day Vesta’s devotees, the Vestal Virgins, offered prayers to request an adequate supply of water for the coming summer months. The festival of Maia was always observed a week before the entry of the Sun into Gemini, ruled by Maia’s son Mercury (Hermes).
In the ancient Egyptian calendar, the month of Epipi, sacred to the protective Cobra Goddess Wadjet, begins with festivals of Hathor and Bastet. In contrast to the preceding month of Payni, Epipi is a markedly feminine-centered month which celebrates above all the female forces of latent vitality and continuity in nature; and the critical importance of Truth, embodied by the Goddess Ma’at, in all universal order. Some of the May events in the dramatic month-long festival cycle that now begins
St Dympna – Matron saint of the mentally ill, this obscure 7th century Irish princess has a shrine in Gheel, just east of Antwerp in Belgium, where people have come for centuries seeking healing from mental illness. The whole town is a sort of mental hospital without walls. On Dympna’s feast day, there is a procession to the saint’s tomb. Rufus, Anneli, The World Holiday Book, Harper San Francisco 1994
St Isidore – This 11th century Spanish saint, who spent his whole life working in the fields, is the patron of farmers and Madrid.
He is usually depicted wearing blue pants and a cape, a sack slung over one shoulder, kneeling in prayer while an angel plows the land behind him with a pair of white oxen. In the Vodou tradition, he is associated with Asaka, the “Minister of Agriculture,” who wears a blue denim shirt and a broad-brimmed straw hat, and carries a straw satchel, the typical garb of a peasant farmer in Haiti.
St Isidore is also the patron of plough-pulling animals. Filipinos honor their primary beast of burden, the water-buffalo, on this holiday by garlanding the animals with flower and marching them to church to be blessed. Afterward they race the animals across the fields, then gather for a feast. Every house features a pahiya, a lush arrangement of coconut, sugar cane, pineapple, banana, cookies and candies made of steamed, tinted and hardened rice shaped like leaves. At the end of the day, the pahiya is given away for good luck.
Brown, Karen McCarthy, Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn, University of California Press 1991
Rufus, Anneli, The World Holiday Book, Harper San Francisco 1994
Courtesy of GrannyMoonsMorningFeast