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May is the fifth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and the third of seven months to have a length of 31 days.

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, the first Monday of September.


The month of May (in Latin, Maius) 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).

Roses to Virgin Mary

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.[1]

Special devotions to the Virgin Mary take place in May. See May devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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 symbols

  • Emerald brooch
    Emerald brooch
    May's birthstone is the emerald which is emblematic of love and success.
  • The May birth flowers are the Lily of the Valley and the Crataegus monogyna.[2] Both are native throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere in Asia, Europe, and in the southern Appalachian Mountains in the United States, but have been naturalized throughout the temperate climactic world.
  • Mayflowers
    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).

May observances

Month-long observances

United States

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

Last Friday in April to the first Sunday in May: April 27 – May 6

First Tuesday: May 1

First Thursday: May 3

Friday preceding Second Sunday in May: May 4

First Saturday: May 5

First full week: May 6–12

Wednesday of first full week: May 9

Week of May 12: May 6–12

First Sunday: May 6
Tuesday of First full week: May 8

Saturday closest to May 10: May 12

Second Saturday: May 12

Second Weekend: May 12–13

Second Sunday: May 13

Third Friday: May 18

Third Saturday: May 19

Third Sunday: May 20

Monday on or before May 24: May 20

Third Monday: May 21

Monday on or before May 25: May 21

Last Monday preceding May 25: May 21

May 24, or the nearest weekday if May 24 falls on a weekend: May 24

Saturday closest to May 30: May 26

Last Weekend: May 26–27

Last Sunday: May 27

Last Monday: May 28

Last Wednesday: May 30

Last Thursday: May 31

Movable Western Christian observances, 2018 dates

Movable Eastern Christian observances, 2018 dates

Fixed observances in May

Rosa chinensis, the flower symbol of May

See also


  1. ^ "Маевки". Archived from the original on 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2015-05-15.
  2. ^ "U101 College Search". Archived from the original on 2012-09-11.
  3. ^ "Raise CF Awareness".
  4. ^ "What Can I Do for May Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Awareness Month?". Archived from the original on 2016-04-20. Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  5. ^ "International Mediterranean Diet Month".
  6. ^ "May is Better Hearing & Speech Month".
  7. ^ "Electrical Safety Foundation International".
  8. ^ "May is Garden for Wildlife Month".
  9. ^ Cactuslab. "NZ Music Month 2015 — Official Site".
  10. ^ "National Pet Month – promoting responsible pet ownership across the UK".
  11. ^ "Skin Cancer Awareness Month Reminder".
  12. ^ "World Trade Month".
  13. ^ Frank Ranieri. "Miles for Hope is now Brain Tumor Alliance". Archived from the original on 2013-04-15.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-05-17. Retrieved 2014-05-28.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Community Action Awareness Month". Archived from the original on 2015-05-18.
  16. ^ "National Foster Care Month 2015: Building Blocks Toward Permanent Families".
  17. ^ "National Golf Month at Mipins".
  18. ^ "May is Hepatitis Awareness Month".
  20. ^ McGuire, Holly; Keil, Kathryn (2010). Chase's 2010 Calendar of Events. McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
  21. ^ Tracking the U.S. Congress[dead link]
  22. ^ "National Osteoporosis Foundation".
  23. ^ "Stroke Awareness Resource Center".
  24. ^ "National Water Safety Month".
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-06-27. Retrieved 2018-12-06.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  28. ^ "New Zealand Sign Language Week".
  29. ^ "The New Green British Invasion - US Forest Service".
  30. ^
  31. ^ "National EMS Week". Retrieved 2017-10-23.
  32. ^ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Endangered Species Day".
  33. ^ "NATIONAL PIZZA PARTY DAY – Third Friday in May". National Day Calendar.
  34. ^ "Ceremony at "Wedding of the Rails," May 10, 1869 at Promontory Point, Utah". World Digital Library. 1869-05-10. Retrieved 2013-07-20.
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