The Month of May 2023: Holidays, Fun Facts, Folklore (2023)

Celebrate the gorgeous month of May! Find out why this months is called “May” and which seven holidays are coming up. Plus, we have the May weather forecast, May full Moon, gardening tips for May, seasonal recipes, folklore, and more to bring a smile to yourday.

The Month ofMay

“May” is likely named after the Roman goddess Maia, who oversaw the growth of plants. Alternatively, the name might have come from the Latin maiores, “elders”. Learn more about the origins of the months’ names.


  • May 1is May Day. Mark the return of spring by bringing in branches of forsythia,lilacs, or other flowering shrubs from your region. May Day is also “Lei Day” in Hawaii. Leis are garlands or wreaths that are often made with native Hawaiian flowers such as plumeria. Nowadays, they are given as a symbol of greeting, farewell, affection, celebration, or honor, in the spirit ofaloha.
  • May 5isCinco de Mayo (“The Fifth of May”).This day celebrates the victory of the Mexican armyover the French army at The Battle of Puebla in 1862. Discover Mexican-American recipes and ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo!
  • May 14isMother’s Day—don’t forget!Do you have something planned to show appreciation for your mother?Learn about the history of Mother’s Day.
  • May 20 is Armed Forces Day, which honors those who serve in all branches of the United Statesmilitary.
  • May 22 is National Maritime Day. Created in commemoration of the first transoceanic voyage via steamboat (completed by the U.S.S. Savannah in 1819), this holiday recognizes the effortsof the U.S. merchant marine during both war andpeace.
  • May 22is Victoria Day in Canada. This holiday celebrates the birthday of Queen Victoria, who was born on May 24, 1819. The holiday is observed on the penultimate Monday inMay.
  • May 29isMemorial Day—a poignant reminder of the tenacity of life. It’s tradition to raise the flag on this day;know how to fly your American flag properly.

“Just for Fun”Days

May is Get Caught Reading Month and National Good Car-Keeping Month.

Here are some more fun things to celebrate thisMay:

  • May 1: School Principals’Day
  • May 2: World TunaDay
  • May 8: No SocksDay
  • May 10 (second Wednesday in May): Root Canal AppreciationDay
  • May 14: Dance Like a ChickenDay
  • May 28: Slugs Return from CapistranoDay

May FullMoon

May’s full Moon, called theFlower Moon, appears on Friday, May 5, reaching peak illumination at 1:36 P.M. (EDT). It will be below the horizon at this time, so for the best view of this full Moon, step outside on the night of the 4th or the 5th and look for that big, bright, shining lunar disk!Learn more about May’s full Moon here.


A warm January, a cold May.” May acts asthe bridge between spring and summer, hinting at warmer weather for those still stuck in spring’s grasp, while heating things up for those already well on their way. See our May 2023 weather forecast.

Recipes for theSeason

‘Tis the season of fresh, spring ingredients! Try some of these recipes that feature the first crops of theseason:

  • AsparagusFrittata
  • SpinachLasagna
  • RhubarbPie
  • Check out our full list of Springtime Recipes to getinspired.


As the weather warms, it’s time for spring cleaning! Get started by checking out our homemade cleaning remedies and household tips to help you around thehome.

The Month of May 2023: Holidays, Fun Facts, Folklore (4)


  • Celebrate a new season of flowers by planting window boxes!
  • Ready to plant a food garden? See our free Growing Guide Library for all your popularvegetables, herbs, and fruit.
  • In May, enjoy new life by attracting hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden!See our lists ofplants that attract hummingbirdsand plants that attract butterflies.
  • Mid-spring is also the time when moles start coming out. See our page on how to controlmoles.

May Folklore andFun

A dry May and a leaking June
Make the farmer whistlea merrytune.

A snowstorm in May
Is worth a wagonload ofhay.

Among the changing months, May stands confessed
The sweetest, and in fairest colors dressed!
–James Thomson, Scottish poet(1700–48)


Taurus: April 21 toMay 20
Gemini: May 21 toJune20

See your May horoscope!

May BirthSymbols

May’s birth flowers are the Hawthorn and the Lily-of-the-Valley. The hawthorn means hope, while the lily-of-the-valley symbolizes sweetness or the return of happiness. Learn more about May’s birth flowers.

May’s birthstone is the emerald. Here are a few fun facts aboutemeralds:

  • The emerald is a green type of beryl. Its color ranges from light to rich green; the more saturated hues are more valuable, especially if pure- orblue-green.
  • Natural emeralds are flawed, with fractures or other materials mixed in, called inclusions, which may appear as needles, columns, or cubes of minerals or bubbles of gas or liquid. Sometimes oil or resin is added to fill fractures and improveappearance.
  • Some of the best emeralds come from South American mines, although perhaps the oldest known came from Egypt. The emerald was a favorite gem ofCleopatra.
  • The emerald symbolizes rebirth and fertility and was thought to grant foresight, cure various diseases, soothe nerves, improve memory, and ensureloyalty.

Learn more about the May birthstones.

This Month inHistory

May23: What’s YourName?

On this day in 1707, Swedish botanist and naturalist Carl Linnaeus was born. One of his major achievements was the formal introduction of a system of classifying and naming organisms according to genus and species, called binomial nomenclature. The method uses Latin words (a language commonly used by scholars in his day). For example, humans are classified as Homo sapiens. Homo, meaning “man,” is the genus, and sapiens, meaning “wise,” is the species. Several species may exist within one genus, but each species only has one scientific name. Scientists today use a modified version of Linnaeus’s system. Because the same naming convention is used throughout the world, it eliminates much confusion when discussingorganisms.

DidYou Know?
Carl Linnaeus originated the use of 0 (the symbol for Mars) to mean male and 1 (the symbol for Venus) to meanfemale.

May26: TerrifyingTwisters

On this day in 1917, tornadoes struck central Illinois, killing 101 people. Originally thought to be just one tornado that wreaked havoc along a 293-mile-long path, the outbreak was later determined to be four to eight tornadoes. One of them lasted 4 hours and followed a track 155 miles long (including the distance traveled while in the air). Mattoon and Charleston were especially hard hit by an F4 tornado (original Fujita scale). In Mattoon, almost 500 houses weredestroyed.

The Month of May 2023: Holidays, Fun Facts, Folklore (5)

According to newspaperreports:

  • straw was driven 1/2 inch deep into atree
  • a flagpole with a flag was blown four blocks and planted upright in theground
  • books and other items were carried 50 to 70 milesaway


According to astronomers, what is a Julianday?

Answer: The term “Julian day” can be confusing because it has several meanings, includingbeing a date on the Julian calendar. In astronomy, however, the Julian day (or Julian daynumber) is the number of days that have passed since the start of a Julian period.The Julian period is a year-numbering system developed by 16th-century Frenchastronomer Joseph Justus Scaliger. He determined that the current Julian period beganon January 1, 4713 B.C. of the Julian calendar; every 7,980 years, the count ofyearsrestarts.

For dating and comparing the timing of astronomical events and observations, JohnHerschel and other astronomers created a day-numbering system based on Scaliger’sJulian period. There are no months in a Julian day system; it simply counts the days,and fractions of days in decimals, since the period began. Julian day 0 occurred onJanuary 1, 4713 B.C. The Julian day starts at noon Universal Time (Greenwich MeanTime), so that nighttime astronomical events occur on one Julianday.

A Julian date includes the fraction of a Julian day. For example, on May 1, 2016(Gregorian calendar date), at midnight (the start of the day on a common calendar),the Julian day number was 2457509, and the Julian date was 2457509.5. On May 1, 2016,at noon, the Julian day number changedto 2457510 and the Julian dateto2457510.0.

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