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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 that ends on Labor Day, the first Monday of September. No month starts and ends on the same day of the week as May in any year. This month is the only month with these two properties. May however, starts and ends on the same day of the week as January of the following year. Also, in common years, May begins on the same day of the week as August of the previous year, and, in leap years, it begins on the same day as February, March, and November of the previous year.[1]

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).

Mayapples blooming. Common name given due to the plant's tendency to bloom in the month of May.

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.[2]

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.[citation needed]

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.[3] 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 climatic 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.

May observances

Month-long observances

United States

Non-Gregorian observances, 2020

(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, 2020

Movable Western Christian observances, 2020 dates

Sunday after Divine Mercy Sunday: May 5

Monday and Tuesday in the week following the third Sunday of Easter: May 6–7

Fourth Sunday after Easter: May 12

Fourth Friday after Easter: May 17

Third Sunday of May: May 19

Sunday preceding the Rogation days: May 26

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday preceding Feast of the Ascension: May 27–29

39 days after Easter: May 30

Movable Eastern Christian observances, 2020 dates

Wednesday after Pascha: May 1

Thursday after Pascha: May 2

Friday after Pascha: May 3

Saturday after Pascha: May 4

8th day after Pascha: May 5

2nd Tuesday of Pascha, or 2nd Monday of Pascha, depending on region: May 6 or May 7

2nd Sunday following Pascha: May 12

4th Sunday of Pascha: May 26

Wednesday after the Sunday of the Paralytic: May 29

Last Friday in April to the first Sunday in May: April 26 – May 5

First Thursday: May 2

First Saturday: May 4

First Sunday: May 5

First full week: May 5–11

Tuesday of First full week: May 7
Wednesday of first full week: May 8

Second week in May: May 5–11

First Tuesday: May 7

Friday preceding Second Sunday in May: May 10

Saturday closest to May 10: May 11

Second Saturday: May 11

Second Weekend: May 11–12

Second Sunday: May 10

Week of May 12: May 12–18

Third Weekend, including Friday: May 17–19

Third Friday: May 17

Third Saturday: May 18

Third Sunday: May 19

Monday on or before May 24: May 20

Third Monday: May 20

Monday on or before May 25: May 20

Last Monday preceding May 25: May 20

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

Saturday closest to May 30: May 25

Last Weekend: May 25–26

Last Sunday: May 26

Last Monday: May 27

Last Wednesday: May 29

Last Thursday: May 30

Fixed observances in May

Rosa chinensis, the flower symbol of May

See also


  1. "The Month of May". Retrieved 2020-02-23.
  2. "Маевки". Archived from the original on 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2015-05-15.
  3. "U101 College Search". Archived from the original on 2012-09-11.
  4. The Earth passed the junction of the signs at 13:49 UT/GMT May 20, 2020, and will pass it again at 19:37 UT/GMT May 20, 2021.
  5. "Astrology Calendar", yourzodiacsign. Signs in UT/GMT for 1950–2030.
  6. "Raise CF Awareness". Archived from the original on 2014-04-19. Retrieved 2014-04-18.
  7. "What Can I Do for May Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Awareness Month?". Archived from the original on 2016-04-20. Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  8. "International Mediterranean Diet Month".
  9. "May is Better Hearing & Speech Month".
  10. "May is Garden for Wildlife Month".
  11. Cactuslab. "NZ Music Month 2015 — Official Site".
  12. "National Pet Month – promoting responsible pet ownership across the UK".
  13. "Skin Cancer Awareness Month Reminder". Archived from the original on 2015-05-11. Retrieved 2015-05-11.
  14. "World Trade Month". Archived from the original on 2014-07-21. Retrieved 2014-05-28.
  15. "Raising awareness of Huntington's Disease".
  16. Frank Ranieri. "Miles for Hope is now Brain Tumor Alliance". Archived from the original on 2013-04-15.
  17. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-05-17. Retrieved 2014-05-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. "Denver's Best Burgers – Celebrate National Burger Month with the Mile High City's 25 tastiest beef-and-bun combos". 5280 Magazine. 5280 Magazine. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  19. "Community Action Awareness Month". Archived from the original on 2015-05-18.
  20. "Electrical Safety Foundation International".
  21. "National Foster Care Month 2015: Building Blocks Toward Permanent Families".
  22. "National Golf Month at Mipins".
  23. "May is Hepatitis Awareness Month".
  24. "NATIONAL MILITARY APPRECIATION MONTH 2005". Archived from the original on 2008-09-14. Retrieved 2009-01-14.
  25. McGuire, Holly; Keil, Kathryn (2010). Chase's 2010 Calendar of Events. McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
  26. Tracking the U.S. Congress[dead link]
  27. "National Osteoporosis Foundation".
  28. "Stroke Awareness Resource Center".
  29. "National Water Safety Month".
  32. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-05-06. Retrieved 2018-05-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  36. "2019 Greater Victoria Bike to Work Week". Go By Bike BC.
  37. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Endangered Species Day".
  38. "NATIONAL PIZZA PARTY DAY – Third Friday in May". National Day Calendar.
  39. "Ceremony at "Wedding of the Rails," May 10, 1869 at Promontory Point, Utah". World Digital Library. 1869-05-10. Retrieved 2013-07-20.
  40. "IDAHOT Forum 2018 - Lisboa | From global to local politics: Equality everywhere, for everyone". Retrieved 2019-12-14.

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