May is known as a month of transition. If you live in the northern hemisphere, the fresh cold winds are gone and rains of early spring.
By the time May comes around the spring flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, and life is starting to seem a little more joyful day by day!
If you’re on the other side of the world, in the southern hemisphere, then it’s a time when summer is long gone. The fall winds have swept by, and the nights are getting colder and darker.
It’s a time of change, yet still delightfully warm.
Again, May is a time of change, no matter where in the world you are.
What is it about May that’s so significant though? Let’s take a look at this a-may-zing month!
The name May is the modern-day English adaption of the Latin word Maius, which has origins going back to the time of the ancient Greeks. They named the month of May (or Maius) after the Greek goddess of growth.
A Roman poet by the name of Ovid had different ideas surrounding the etymology of the naming of May. He claimed that it was from the word Maiores, the Latin for “elders,” that the month gained its name.
The word May wasn’t actually used until the middle ages were on their way out, around the 15th Century AD. Up until then, the Roman word Maius was still used.
May used to have a very different name in Old English. Back then, the month was referred to as the “month of three milking’s”. Unsurprisingly, this meant that during this month you could milk your cows up to three times per day!
May was once considered an incredibly ill-omened time to get married. There’s an adage for it actually, which goes: “Marry in May and you’ll rue the day”. It’s not clear where exactly the saying comes from, but there must have been a pretty good reason to not get married in one of the most beautiful months of the year!
May isn’t just a bad time to get married though. There’s the Cornish superstition that buying a new broom in May is unlucky. Oh, and apparently you shouldn’t wash any blankets either!
May is the month that the Eurovision song contest is held every year. For those not in the know, Eurovision is an international song contest that has been held every year since 1956. Some of the winners of the contest over the years have gone on to be incredibly successful groups, with the most notable being ABBA!
May is a special time for Star Wars fans all over the world, and always a good reason to re-watch the movies. May the 4th is celebrated as Star Wars day, due to the way the date sounds similar to “May the Force”. We won’t start the debate over whether the old movies are better than the new ones, because we all know the answer to that!
Every year there is a particular meteor shower in May called the Eta Aquariids meteor shower. Discovered in 1870, this meteor shower passes by Earth between April 19 and May 28. It’s easiest to view it from the equatorial regions of the world, and can be glimpsed passing by just before dawn.
It is said that those who were born in may have a greater chance of being more successful in life, and that they experience more love. While this may not be scientifically factual, it has been noticed that people born in May understand the importance of love and success more than others.
The Empire State Building opened its doors on the 1st of May, 1931. At the point of its construction it held the record for being the tallest building in the world. It has since been dwarfed by many other sky-high constructions, but it’s still an incredibly impressive feature of the New York cityscape!
Back in the day in Europe it wasn’t a good May if you didn’t celebrate it with a maypole. In the UK at least, they were present since at least 1350 AD. Celebrants would erect a long pole and attach flowers, garlands, and strips of fabric to it, around which certain dances would take place.
May is a pretty good month for US presidents. In every other month of the year at least one US president has died, but never in May!
May is pretty exclusive when it comes to days of the week. No other month in one single year starts or finishes on the same weekday as May. Basically, if the first of May is on a Friday, and the 31st of May is on a Sunday, no other months in the year will start or end on a Friday or a Sunday!
The birthstone for May is the emerald. Emeralds are a type of stone called beryl, and typically range from a deep sea green to a lighter color. Emeralds are symbols of fertility and rebirth.
May actually has two birth flowers – the Lily-of-the-Valley, and the Hawthorn. The Hawthorn flower is a symbol of hope, while the Lily-of-the-Valley represents the return of happiness, and sweetness.
May also has two Zodiac signs, Taurus and Gemini. People born under the sign of Taurus are said to be ambitious and smart, yet trustworthy. Those born under the sign of Gemini are said to be passionate, adaptable and smart.
May has some pretty interesting month-long observances. In the U.K., May is National Pet Month, and National Smile Month. In the U.S. May is National Burger Month, Older Americans Month and National Military Appreciation Month.
May also has some pretty wacky days! Hawaii celebrates Lei Day on the first of May, which also happens to be May Day. Utah celebrates Golden Spike Day on the 10th of May, after the first Transcontinental Railroad was completed. May 29th is celebrated as Put a Pillow on Your Fridge Day!
Many famous people were born in May, such as Mark Zuckerberg, Karl Marx, Clint Eastwood, Wes Anderson, John F. Kennedy, Queen Victoria and Catherine the Great!
As you can see, May isn’t just a fantastic time of the year for weather – it’s also got some pretty cool history.
As the fifth month of the year, it would be so easy for it to slip by without notice if not for all the interesting observances throughout the month!