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This article is about the month. For other uses, see May (disambiguation).
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May is the fifth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and the third month to have the length of 31 days. May is also the month with the shortest name.[1]

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.[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[edit]

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 symbols[edit]

  • 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.[3] 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).

May observances[edit]

Month-long observances[edit]

United States[edit]

Non-Gregorian observances, 2017[edit]

Movable observances, 2017[edit]

Last Friday in April to the first Sunday in May: April 28-May 7[edit]

1st full week: May 7-13[edit]

2016 dates[edit]

First Monday - May 1 2017[edit]
First Tuesday - May 3[edit]
First Thursday - May 5[edit]
Friday preceding Mother's Day - May 6[edit]
First Saturday - May 7[edit]
Saturday closest to May 10 - May 7[edit]

Second Weekend - May 7–8[edit]

2nd Week of May - 8-14[edit]

  • 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[edit]
Second Sunday - May 8[edit]
May 13[edit]
Second Saturday - May 14[edit]

3rd Week in May - 15-21[edit]

  • Bike-to-Work Week
Third Sunday - May 15[edit]
Third Monday - May 16[edit]
Third Friday - May 20[edit]
Third Saturday - May 21[edit]
Monday on or before May 24 - May 23[edit]
Monday on or before May 25 - May 23[edit]

Last Week[edit]

  • 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.[35]
  • Arbor Week (Prince Edward Island, Canada)

May 24, or the nearest weekday if May 24 falls on a weekend- May 24[edit]

Last Monday preceding May 25[edit]

Last Thursday - May 27[edit]

Last Weekend - May 28–29[edit]

Saturday closest to May 30 - May 28[edit]

Last Sunday - May 29[edit]

Last Monday - May 30[edit]

Movable Western Christian observances, 2017 dates[edit]

Movable Eastern Christian observances, 2017 dates[edit]

Fixed Observances in May[edit]

Rosa chinensis, the flower symbol of May

See also[edit]


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