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, first Monday of September.
The month May 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).
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.
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 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's birthstone is the emerald which is emblematic of love and success.
- The May birth flower is the Lily of the Valley and the Crataegus monogyna. It is native throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere in Asia, Europe, and in the southern Appalachian Mountains in the United States, but has been naturalized throughout the temperate climactic 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.
- The zodiac signs for the month of May are Taurus (until May 20) and Gemini (May 21 onwards).
- In Catholic tradition, May is the Month of the Blessed Virgin Mary. See May devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary
- Celiac Awareness Month
- Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month.
- Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Awareness month
- International Mediterranean Diet Month
- National Mobility Awareness Month (United States, Canada)
- Season of Emancipation (April 14 to August 23) (Barbados)
- Better Hearing and Speech Month
- Kaamatan harvest festival (Labuan, Sabah)
- National Electrical Safety Month (United States)
- Flores de Mayo (Philippines)
- Garden for Wildlife month
- New Zealand Music Month (New Zealand)
- National Pet Month (United Kingdom)
- Skin Cancer Awareness Month
- National Smile Month (United Kingdom)
- South Asian Heritage Month (International)
- World Trade Month
- Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
- National ALS Awareness Month
- National Innovators Month
- National Brain Tumor Awareness Month
- National Burger Month
- Community Action Awareness Month (North Dakota, United States)
- National Foster Care Month (United States)
- National Golf Month
- Jewish American Heritage Month
- Haitian Heritage Month
- Hepatitis Awareness Month
- Mental Health Awareness Month
- National Military Appreciation Month
- National Masturbation Month
- National Moving Month
- Older Americans Month
- National Osteoporosis Month
- National Stroke Awareness Month
- National Water Safety Month
Movable observances, 2016
- National Dance Week (United States) - April 22 - May 1
- National Small Business Week (United States) - May 1–7
- Emergency Medical Services Week (United States) - May 15–21
- National Family Week (UK)
- Green Office Week (Britain)
- National Hurricane Preparedness Week (United States)
- Occupational Safety and Health Professional Day 2016 date: May 4.
- Phi Ta Khon (Dan Sai, Loei province, Isan, Thailand) Dates are selected by village mediums and can take place anywhere between March and July.
- Victoria Day (Canada)
- Walk Safely to School Day
- Bike to Work Week Victoria May 30-June 5.
1st Week of May - May 1–7
- Moatsü, celebrated by the Ao people of Nagaland, India
- 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.
- National Forest Week (Canada)
- National Teacher Appreciation Week (United States). Teacher's Day in the United States falls in this week.
First Sunday - May 1
- Mother's Day (Angola, Cape Verde, Hungary, Lithuania, Mozambique, Portugal, Romania, Spain)
- World Laughter Day
- End of Arbor Week in Ontario. which begins on the last Friday in April.
- May Day, China, Labour Day.
First Tuesday - May 3
First Thursday - May 5
- Arbor Day (Nova Scotia, Canada)
- National Day of Prayer (United States)
- National Day of Reason (United States)
Friday preceding Mother's Day - May 6
First Saturday - May 7
Saturday closest to May 10 - May 7
- National Train Day (United States)
Second Weekend - May 7–8
2nd Week of May - 8-14
- 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 citywide cycling supplemented with events.
- National Stuttering Awareness Week (United States)
Week of May 12
- National Nursing Week (United States)
Second Sunday - May 8
- National Nursing Home Week (United States)
- Children's Day (Spain)
- Father's Day (Romania)
- Mother's Day (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, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Suriname, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe)
- State Flag and State Emblem Day (Belarus)
- World Fair Trade Day
Second Saturday - May 14
- International Migratory Bird Day (Canada, the United States, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean)
- National Tree Planting Day (Mongolia)
3rd Week in May - 15-21
- Bike-to-Work Week
- Bike-to-Work Day generally falls within this week and varies from city to city.
Third Sunday - May 15
Third Monday - May 16
Third Thursday - May 19
- Hummus Day
Third Friday - May 20
- Arbor Day (Prince Edward Island, Canada)
- National Defense Transportation Day
- National Defense Transportation Week is the week in which National Transportation Day falls.
- Endangered Species Day (United States)
- National Pizza Party Day (United States)
Third Saturday - May 21
- The Preakness Stakes is run, second jewel in the triple crown of horse racing.
- Culture Freedom Day
- Armed Forces Day (United States)
- World Whisky Day
- Sanja Matsuri (May 16–19)
Monday on or before May 24 - May 23
Monday on or before May 25 - May 23
- 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.
- Arbor Week (Prince Edward Island, Canada)
May 24, or the nearest weekday if May 24 falls on a weekend- May 24
- Bermuda Day (Bermuda)
Last Thursday - May 27
- Take a Girl Child to Work Day (South Africa)
Last Weekend - May 28–29
Saturday closest to May 30 - May 28
- Armed Forces Day (Spain)
Last Sunday - May 29
- Arbor Day (Venezuela)
- Children's Day (Hungary)
- Mother's Day (Algeria, Dominican Republic, France (First Sunday of June, if Pentecost occurs on this day), Haiti, Mauritius, Morocco, Sweden, Tunisia)
- Turkmen Carpet Day (Turkmenistan)
Last Monday - May 30
- Heroes' Day (Turks and Caicos Islands)
- Memorial Day (United States), a public holiday, is on May 30, but observed on the last Monday in May.
- Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Day (Fiji), removed as a national holiday in 2010.
Movable Western Christian observances, 2016 dates
- Minor Rogation days - May 2–4
- Feast of the Ascension - May 5
- Pentecost - May 15 (Eastertide)
- Whitsun - May 15
- Whit Monday - May 16
- Azores Day (Portugal)
- Whit Tuesday – May 17
- Feast of Christ the Priest – May 19
- Feast of the Crown of Thorns – May 20
- Trinity Sunday – May 22
- Corpus Christi (feast) – May 26
Movable Eastern Christian observances, 2016 dates
- Pascha - May 1
- Bright Monday - May 2
- Sham el-Nessim (Egypt)
- Bright Tuesday - May 3
- Bright Wednesday - May 4
- Bright Thursday - May 5
- Bright Friday - May 6
- Bright Saturday - May 7
- Thomas Sunday - May 8
- Radonitsa (Russian Orthodox) - May 9 or May 10 (depends on region)
- Sunday of the Myrrhbearers - May 15
- Sunday of the Paralytic - May 22
- Mid-Pentecost Celebrated Wednesday after the Sunday of the Paralytic. - May 25
- Corpus Christi (feast) – May 26
- Sunday of the Samaritan Woman - May 29
Fixed Observances on non-Gregorian Calendars, 2016
- Ridván (Bahá'í calendar) - April 21 - May 2
- Counting of the Omer (Hebrew calendar) - April 23-June 11.
- Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust (Hebrew calendar, United States) - May 1-May 8
- Fast of Pilegesh Bagiva (Hebrew calendar) - May 4 (fast is optional and is generally only observed by Chevra kadisha)
- Yom HaShoah (Hebrew calendar)- May 5
- Mata Tirtha Aunsi (Vikram Samvat calendar) - May 6
- Rosh Chodesh of Iyar (Hebrew calendar) - May 9
- Akshaya Tritiya (Jainism) - May 9
- Yom Hazikaron (Hebrew calendar) - May 11
- Yom Hazikaron (Hebrew calendar) - May 12
- Buddha's Birthday (Buddhism) - May 14 Exact date varies from region to region.
- Yom Ha'atzmaut/Day to Praise (Hebrew calendar) - May 13
- Bahab (Hebrew calendar) - May 16
- Pesach Sheni (Hebrew calendar) - May 16
- Yom Ha'atzmaut (Hebrew calendar) - May 16
- Bahab (Hebrew calendar) - May 19
- Vesak (Buddhism). Date varies depending on regional calendar. The United Nations recognizes May 20 as the 2016 date.
- Bahab, Pesach Sheni - May 23
- Lag BaOmer (Hebrew calendar) - May 26
- Ascension of Bahá'u'lláh (Bahá'í calendar) May 29
Fixed Observances in May
- 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.)
- May 1
- Armed Forces Day (Mauritania)
- Constitution Day (Argentina)
- Lei Day in Hawaii. The custom is to wear a lei throughout the day.
- Beltane (Bealtaine) on the Irish calendar, the first day of Summer, and a public holiday is held on the first Monday in May. It is also a neopagan holiday.
- May Day in many countries. This is also celebrated as Labour 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.
- May 2
- May 3
- May 4
- Anti-Bullying Day (United Nations)
- Bird Day (United States)
- Cassinga Day (Namibia)
- Death of Milan Rastislav Štefánik Day (Slovakia)
- Greenery Day (Japan)
- International Firefighters' Day
- May Fourth Movement commemorations:
- Remembrance Day for Martyrs and Disabled (Afghanistan)
- Remembrance of the Dead (Netherlands)
- Restoration of Independence day (Latvia)
- Star Wars Day (International observance)
- World Give Day
- Youth Day (Fiji)
- May 5
- Children's Day (Japan, Korea)
- Cinco de Mayo
- Constitution Day (Kyrgyzstan)
- Coronation Day (Thailand)
- Europe Day in Europe (uncommon usage, largely replaced by May 9).
- Feast of al-Khadr or Saint George (Palestinian)
- Indian Arrival Day (Guyana)
- International Midwives' Day
- Liberation Day (Denmark)
- Liberation Day (Netherlands)
- Lusophone Culture Day (Community of Portuguese Language Countries)
- Martyrs' Day (Albania)
- Patriots' Victory Day (Ethiopia)
- Senior Citizens Day (Palau)
- Tango no sekku (Japan)
- May 6
- Martyrs' Day (Gabon)
- Martyrs' Day (Lebanon and Syria)
- International No Diet Day
- Teachers' Day (Jamaica)
- The first day of Hıdırellez (Turkey)
- St George's Day related observances (Eastern Orthodox Church):
- May 7
- May 8
- Miguel Hidalgo's birthday (Mexico)
- Parents' Day (South Korea)
- Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during the Second World War, continues to May 9
- Truman Day (Missouri, United States)
- White Lotus Day (Theosophy)
- World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day
- VE Day in Western Europe. In Eastern Europe it is celebrated on May 9.
- May 9
- Anniversary of Dianetics (Church of Scientology)
- Europe Day (European Union)
- Liberation Day (Guernsey), commemorating the end of the German occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II.
- Liberation Day (Jersey), commemorating the end of the German occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II.
- Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during the Second World War, continued from May 8.
- Victory Day observances, celebration of the Soviet Union victory over Nazi Germany (Soviet Union, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan)
- Victory Day over Nazism in World War II (Ukraine)
- Victory and Peace Day (Armenia) marks both the capture of Shusha (1992) in the Nagorno-Karabakh War, and the end of World War II.
- Veterans Day (Norway)
- May 10
- Children's Day (Maldives)
- Confederate Memorial Day (North Carolina and South Carolina)
- Constitution Day (Federated States of Micronesia)
- Golden Spike Day (1869 – Completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad – Promontory Summit, Utah)
- Independence Day (Romania), celebrating the declaration of independence of Romania from the Ottoman Empire in 1877.
- Liberation Day (Sark), commemorating the end of the German occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II.
- May 11
- May 12
- May 13
- May 14
- May 15
- Beginning of Tourette Syndrome awareness month. It ends on June 15
- Argei (Ancient Rome)
- Army Day (Slovenia)
- Constituent Assembly Day (Lithuania)
- Independence Day (Paraguay)
- International Day of Families
- Mercuralia (Ancient Rome)
- Nakba Day (Palestinian communities)
- Peace Officers Memorial Day (United States)
- Republic Day (Lithuania)
- Saint Ubaldo Day
- Teachers' Day (Colombia, Mexico, South Korea)
- May 16
- May 17
- National Day Against Homophobia (Canada)
- International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia aka IDAHO
- Birthday of the Raja (Perlis)
- Children's Day (Norway)
- Constitution Day (Nauru)
- Galician Literature Day (Galicia (Spain))
- World Hypertension Day
- World Information Society Day
- Liberation Day (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
- Navy Day (Argentina)
- Norwegian Constitution Day
- May 18
- Baltic Fleet Day (Russia)
- Battle of Las Piedras Day (Uruguay)
- Day of Remembrance of Crimean Tatar genocide (Ukraine)
- Flag and Universities Day (Haiti)
- Independence Day (Somaliland) (unrecognized)
- International Museum Day
- Mullivaikkal Remembrance Day (Sri Lankan Tamils)
- Revival, Unity, and Poetry of Magtymguly Day (Turkmenistan)
- Teacher's Day (Syria)
- Victory Day (Sri Lanka)
- World AIDS Vaccine Day
- May 19
- May 20
- May 21
- Afro-Colombian Day (Colombia)
- Agonalia (Roman Empire)
- Circassian Day of Mourning (Circassians)
- Day of Patriots and Military (Hungary)
- Navy Day (Chile)
- Saint Helena Day, celebrates the discovery of Saint Helena in 1502.
- World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (International)
- One of the three festivals of Vejovis (Roman Empire)
- May 22
- Abolition Day (Martinique)
- Harvey Milk Day (California)
- International Day for Biological Diversity (International)
- National Maritime Day (United States)
- National Sovereignty Day (Haiti)
- Republic Day (Sri Lanka)
- Translation of the Relics of Saint Nicholas from Myra to Bari (Ukraine)
- Unity Day (Yemen)
- World Goth Day
- May 23
- May 24
- Feast of Mary Help of Christians (Roman Catholicism)
- Aldersgate Day/Wesley Day (Methodism)
- Battle of Pichincha Day (Ecuador)
- Commonwealth Day (Belize)
- Independence Day (Eritrea)
- Lubiri Memorial Day (Buganda)
- Rosalia, May 24–26. (Pergamon, Roman Empire)
- Saints Cyril and Methodius Day (Eastern Orthodox Church) and its related observance:
- Bulgarian Education and Culture and Slavonic Literature Day (Bulgaria)
- Saints Cyril and Methodius, Slavonic Enlighteners' Day (Republic of Macedonia)
- May 25
- Africa Day (African Union)
- African Liberation Day (African Union)
- Day of Youth
- Geek Pride Day
- Independence Day (Jordan)
- Liberation Day (Lebanon)
- May Revolution (or Revolución de Mayo), a national holiday in Argentina
- International Missing Children's Day
- Last bell (Russia, post-Soviet countries)
- Liberation Day (Lebanon)
- National Day (Argentina)
- National Missing Children's Day (United States)
- National Tap Dance Day (United States)
- Towel Day
- May 26
- May 27
- May 28
- May 29
- May 30
- May 31
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: May|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to May.|
|Look up May in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- "Month with the shortest name - Daily Celebrity Crossword Answers". dailycelebritycrossword.com. Retrieved 2016-11-28.
- "Маевки". homofestivus.ru.
- "U101 College Search". shgresources.com.
- "Raise CF Awareness". cff.org.
- Life with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: What Can I Do for May Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Awareness Month?
- "International Mediterranean Diet Month". oldwayspt.org.
- "May is Better Hearing & Speech Month". asha.org.
- "Electrical Safety Foundation International". esfi.org.
- "May is Garden for Wildlife Month". nwf.org.
- Cactuslab. "NZ Music Month 2015 — Official Site". nzmusicmonth.co.nz.
- "National Pet Month - promoting responsible pet ownership across the UK". nationalpetmonth.org.uk.
- "Skin Cancer Awareness Month Reminder". skincancer.org.
- "World Trade Month".
- Frank Ranieri. "Miles for Hope is now Brain Tumor Alliance". milesforhope.org.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-05-17. Retrieved 2014-05-28.
- "Community Action Awareness Month". nd.gov.
- "National Foster Care Month 2015: Building Blocks Toward Permanent Families". childwelfare.gov.
- "National Golf Month at Mipins". nationalgolfmonth.com.
- "May is Hepatitis Awareness Month". cdc.gov.
- "NATIONAL MILITARY APPRECIATION MONTH 2005". nmam.org.
- McGuire, Holly; Keil, Kathryn (2010). Chase's 2010 Calendar of Events. McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
- GovTrack.us: Tracking the U.S. Congress
- "National Osteoporosis Foundation". nof.org.
- "Stroke Awareness Resource Center". Stroke.org.
- "National Water Safety Month". nationalwatersafetymonth.org.
- National Dance Week Foundation
- Greater Victoria | Bike To Work BC
- "bikemonth.com". bikemonth.com.
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Endangered Species Day". fws.gov.
- "NATIONAL PIZZA PARTY DAY – Third Friday in May". National Day Calendar.
- "Library and Information Week". alia.org.au.
- Festivals in Nepal, Festivals of Nepal, Festivals Nepal, Nepal Festivals Information
- "Ceremony at "Wedding of the Rails," May 10, 1869 at Promontory Point, Utah". World Digital Library. 1869-05-10. Retrieved 2013-07-20.