Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Day, May Day!

Yay - it's May! That usually means pleasant weather, the arrival of spring flowers and leaves on the trees for those of us in the northern hemisphere and the winding down of the school year for many students. With the arrival of May, it's time for me to share some fun facts and trivia about the fifth month of the Gregorian calendar with you today!

Like several of the other months, the origin of the name May is somewhat uncertain. The most commonly accepted view is that the name was derived from the Greek Goddess Maia, whose Roman counterpart was Bona Dea, a fertility goddess whose festival was held during this month.

May is one of 7 months in the year that has 31 days and it may surprise you to learn that it never starts on the same day of the week as any other month of that year.

The emerald is both May's traditional and modern birthstone, one of the most precious gemstones in the world. In fact, because of the way this particular stone forms, an emerald with very few inclusions (a nearly perfect stone) can be worth more than even the priciest of diamonds, carat for carat. (1.40 Carat AAA Columbian Emerald set in 14K white gold diamond ring from mastergoldcraft on Etsy)

The honor of being the month of May's birth flowers is shared by the lily of the valley and the Crataegus monogyna (okay, I had to look that one up - it's the blossom of the common hawthorne tree - wonder why they didn't just say that!) I'm not super familiar with the hawthorne, but my childhood garden had its share of wonderfully fragrant lily of the valley since it was one of my mother's favorite flowers... no wonder, since her birthday is May 8th - and she will be a young 86 this year!

Mother's Day - that day when we uphold the time honored tradition of giving Mom the credit she deserves - is observed on the second Sunday of the month. This year it falls on May 9th, so you have just over a week to plan out your special way of telling Mom how much she means to you. (Mothers Day Card // The List by PaperMango) Other significant holidays are May Day (which is always May 1st, so it's today!), Cinqo de Mayo (5th) - a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride, and Memorial Day (which falls on the last Monday of May) - a federal holiday here in the States on which we honor those who have died in military service to their country.

Do you share a May birthday with any of these famous May born people?

May arrives in the sign of Taurus, giving way to the third sign of the zodiac cycle - Gemini, the sign of the twins - on May 21st at 2:06 am (GMT).

Month-long celebrations for May include National Hamburger Month, American Wetlands Month, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/ Lou Gehrig's disease) Awareness Month, National Meditation Month, Clean Air Month, Jewish American Heritage Month, Strike Out Strokes Month, National Allergy/Asthma Awareness Month, and National Photo Month - among so many others!

The Native American names for the full Moon this month are the Milk Moon, the Full Corn Planting Moon, or the Full Flower Moon, depending on the locale of the tribe.

The angel for the month of May is Ambriel, who is the "Angel of Communication". This angel inspires clear communication to awaken our spirit and helps guide our consciousness toward inner truth.

May's tree's are the ash, poplar and walnut. Folklore says that if seeds did not appear on an ash tree the owner was said to have been unlucky in love, or a future venture would not be successful.

The bird of May is the nightingale. One legend tells that the first Lily of the valley loved the song of the nightingale, but because she was so shy, she hid in the long grass to listen to his song. The nightingale became lonely, and said he would no longer sing unless the lily of the valley bloomed every May for all to see. (Nightingale and Finch Bookplate by jukyandbeatrix)

According to the Chinese agricultural calendar, May is the month of the Snake.

There are so many more interesting facts, legends and folklore surrounding the month of May, but I'm hoping you've enjoyed the few that I've shared with you!

I'd like to say thank you to the featured shops for the display of their items to illustrate my post. Please be sure to visit them all, as well as the other great Etsy shops that are featuring May related items!

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