Hello Holidays! – May

Ah, summer slowly approaches. The rain outside is welcome but makes for a very humid existence. The days grow longer and the summer itch can be felt just about every where!

Here are the holidays for May!

May 1st – May Day or Beltane. One of the eight solar Sabbats in Paganism or Wicca. Celebration of fertility and an end to the unproductive season. Dances were held around the phallic symbol of the maypole and flowers adorn not only homes but are woven through women’s hair. This is another holiday appropriated by Christianity. Called May Crowning, statues of the Virgin Mary are adorned with flowers.

May 5 – Cinco de Mayo. Translates literally to Fifth of May. Celebrates the Battle of Puebla in 1862 against the much larger French Army. Though the Mexicans won this battle, the French eventually went on to Mexico City. Often mistaken as a celebration of Mexico’s Independence from Spain. That day is actually September 16th. Holiday is highly celebrated in the United States, but not in Mexico.

Second Sunday – Mother’s Day. First proclaimed an American observation in 1870, Mother’s Day didn’t become an official US holiday until 1914 after campaigning by Anna Jarvis. Approximately six years later, Jarvis became so disillusioned by the commercialization of the holiday she tried to sue and lost. Mother’s Day is celebrated by a good portion of the world’s countries, though at different times.

May 27th – Shavou’ot / Pentecost. Festival of Weeks. Agricultural significance comes from being the time when the first first fruits are harvested and taken to the temple. Historically said to be when the Torah was taken to Mount Sinai. Pentecost does not refer to the Christian Pentecost. It is the 50th day of the time between Passover and Shavou’ot. Shavou’ot is counted from Passover, so it does not fall on a specific date on the calendar.

Last Monday – Memorial Day. In honor of the lives lost during the Civil War. Made official May 5, 1868 and first celebrated on May 30th that same year by placing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves in Arlington National Cemetery. Southerners celebrated their war dead on a different day and the entire country didn’t celebrate Memorial Day as a whole for ALL lives lost during service to country until after World War II.

May 29th – My Birthday! Oh wait, I guess that’s not technically a holiday unless it falls on the Last Monday of the month 🙂 (sorry, couldn’t help myself).

There are a few observances such as Nurses Day on May 12th and Armed Forces Day on May 19th.

Again, if there are any others you know of, please add them to the comments.

Melanie

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