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May is the fifth month of the year, coming between April and June. It has 31 days. The month of May might have been named for the Roman goddess Maia, or more likely the Roman goddess of fertility Bona Dea, whose festival was held in May.
May comes between April and June and is the fifth month of the year in the Gregorian calendar. It has 31 days, being one of seven months to do so. In the older Roman calendar, May was the third month of the year. It is a spring month in the Northern Hemisphere and an autumn month in the Southern Hemisphere. May is likely to have been named after the Roman goddess Maia, though there is a theory that May might have its name from the Latin "Maiores", meaning "Seniors". The same theory suggests that June would then be named from "Iuniores", meaning "Juniors".
In any year, no month starts or ends on the same day of the week as May, though January of the following year starts and ends on the same days of the week as May. In a common year it ends on the same day of the week as August and November of the previous year and starts on the same day of the week as August of the previous year. In a leap year, May starts on the same day of the week as February, March and November of the previous year and ends on the same day of the week as March and June of the previous year.
In the Northern Hemisphere, May is in late Spring, and May Day on May 1 and Walpurgis Night, during the night of April 30 to May 1, are symbolic of the transition from winter to summer. In the Southern Hemisphere, it is in autumn, and comes just before the Antarctic winter, when emperor penguins breed there.
Events in May
- May 1 - May Day in many countries.
- May 1 - International Workers' Day
- May 1 - Beltane (neo-Pagan culture)
- May 1 - Lei Day (Hawaii)
- May 1 - Constitution Day in Latvia and the Marshall Islands
- May 2 - Flag Day (Poland)
- May 2 - National Education Day (Indonesia)
- May 2 - Teachers' Day in Iran and Bhutan
- May 3 - Constitution Day (Poland, Lithuania)
- May 3 - Constitution Memorial Day (Japan)
- May 3 - World Press Freedom Day
- May 4 - Unofficial Star Wars Day
- May 4 - International Firefighters' Day
- May 4 - Youth Day in China and Fiji
- May 4 - Greenery Day (Japan)
- May 4 - Remembrance of the Dead (Netherlands)
- May 5 - Children's Day in Japan and South Korea
- May 5 - Cinco de Mayo (Mexico and United States)
- May 5 - Liberation Day in the Netherlands and Denmark
- May 5 - Coronation Day (Thailand)
- May 5 - Europe Day
- May 6 - International No Diet Day
- May 6 - Teacher's Day (Jamaica)
- May 6 - Saint George's Day (Eastern Orthodox countries)
- May 7 - Radio Day in Russia and Bulgaria
- May 8 - Victory in Europe Day, marking end of World War II in Europe
- May 8 - International Red Cross and Red Crescent Day
- May 8 - Parents' Day (South Korea)
- May 8 - Harry S. Truman Day (Missouri)
- May 8 - Miguel Hidalgo's Birthday (Mexico)
- May 9 - Victory and Peace Day (Armenia)
- May 9 - Victory Day (former Soviet Union countries), marking end of World War II in Europe
- May 9 - Independence Day (Romania)
- May 10 - Confederate Memorial Day (North Carolina and South Carolina)
- May 10 - Constitution Day (Federated States of Micronesia)
- May 10 - Mother's Day (Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador)
- May 11 - National Technology Day (India)
- May 11 - Statehood Day (Minnesota)
- May 12 - International Nurses Day, birthday of Florence Nightingale
- May 12 - Johan Vilhelm Snellman Day (Finland)
- May 16 - National Day (South Sudan)
- May 16 - Teachers' Day (Malaysia)
- May 17 - Constitution Day, National Day of Norway
- May 17 - Constitution Day (Nauru)
- May 17 - Liberation Day (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
- May 17 - International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia
- May 17 - Navy Day (Argentina)
- May 17 - National Famine Memorial Day (Ireland)
- May 17 - Galician Literature Day
- May 18 - International Museum Day
- May 18 - Independence Day (Somaliland)
- May 18 - Battle of Las Piedras Day (Uruguay)
- May 19 - Youth and Sports Day (Turkey)
- May 19 - Genocide Memorial Day (Greece)
- May 19 - Ho Chi Minh's Birthday (Vietnam)
- May 19 - Malcolm X Day (United States)
- May 20 - Independence Day (Cuba)
- May 20 - Independence Day (East Timor)
- May 21 - Navy Day (Chile)
- May 21 - Saint Helena Day
- May 21 - Day of Patriots and the Military (Hungary)
- May 22 - Republic Day (Sri Lanka)
- May 22 - Unity Day (Yemen)
- May 22 - National Sovereignty Day (Haiti)
- May 22 - International Day of Biological Diversity
- May 22 - Harvey Milk Day (California)
- May 23 - Birthday of Guru Amar Das (Sikhism)
- May 23 - Declaration of the Bab (Baha'i faith)
- May 23 - Labour Day (Jamaica)
- May 23 - Students' Day (Mexico)
- May 23 - World Turtle Day
- May 24 - Battle of Pichincha Day (Ecuador)
- May 24 - Bermuda Day
- May 24 - Commonwealth Day (Belize)
- May 24 - Independence Day (Eritrea)
- May 24 - Aldersgate Day (Methodism)
- May 24 - National Patriots Day (Quebec)
- May 25 - Africa Day
- May 25 - Geek Pride Day
- May 25 - Independence Day (Jordan)
- May 25 - Liberation Day (Lebanon)
- May 25 - National Day (Argentina)
- May 26 - Independence Day (Georgia)
- May 26 - Independence Day (Guyana)
- May 26 - Crown Prince's Birthday (Denmark)
- May 26 - Mother's Day (Poland)
- May 26 - National Sorry Day (Australia)
- May 28 - Independence Day (Armenia)
- May 28 - Independence Day (Azerbaijan)
- May 28 - Republic Day (Nepal)
- May 28 - Flag Day (Philippines)
- May 28 - Armed Forces Day (Croatia)
- May 30 - Anguilla Day
- May 30 - Canary Islands Day
- May 31 - Anti-Tobacco Day
Moveable and Monthlong Events
- In the United Kingdom, May Day is May 1, but a public holiday is held on the first Monday in May.
- In the United States, Canada and Australia, Mother's Day is the second Sunday in May.
- In the United States, Memorial Day, a public holiday, is on May 30, but is observed on the last Monday in May.
- Spring Bank Holiday in the United Kingdom, last Monday in May
- Eastern Orthodox Easter, between April 4 and May 8
- Ascension Day (Western Christianity), between April 30 and June 3
- Pentecost, between May 10 and June 13 in Western Christianity and between May 23 and June 26 in Eastern Orthodox Christianity
- Corpus Christi (Western Christianity) between May 21 and June 24
- Victoria Day (Canada), Monday on or before May 24
- Giro d'Italia (Cycling)
- World Snooker Championship, late April, early May
- Monaco Grand Prix, traditionally the most important race of the Formula One season
- French Open (Tennis), late May, early June
- The Eurovision Song Contest is generally held in May
- Marathon races:
Selection of Historical Events
- May 1, 1931 - The Empire State Building in New York City is officially opened.
- May 1, 1994 - Racing driver Ayrton Senna is killed in a crash at the San Marino Grand Prix
- May 1, 2004 - Ten countries join the European Union.
- May 2, 1611 - The King James Bible is published.
- May 2, 1945 - Troops of the Soviet Union capture Berlin in the end-phase of World War II.
- May 2, 1997 - Tony Blair becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
- May 3, 1791 - Poland's first Constitution is introduced.
- May 3, 1947 - Japan's first post-World War II Constitution enters effect.
- May 3, 2008 - Cyclone Nargis kills tens of thousands of people in Burma.
- May 4, 1493 - Pope Alexander VI divides the "New World" between Spain and Portugal.
- May 4, 1979 - Margaret Thatcher becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
- May 4, 1990 - Latvia declares independence from the Soviet Union.
- May 5, 1821 - Napoleon Bonaparte dies on the remote South Atlantic island of Saint Helena.
- May 5, 1945 - World War II: Denmark and the Netherlands are liberated.
- May 6, 1910 - George V of the United Kingdom becomes King.
- May 6, 1937 - The airship LZ 129 Hindenburg catches fire on landing in New Jersey, killing 36 people.
- May 7, 1915 - A German U-boat sinks the RMS Lusitania, killing 1,198 people.
- May 8, 1902 - Mount Pelee on Martinique erupts, killing 30,000 people.
- May 8, 1945 - World War II: Final surrender by Germany, ending the war in Europe.
- May 9, 1901 - The first Australian parliament meets in Melbourne. It is later moved to Canberra on this day in 1927.
- May 9, 1945 - World War II: The Channel Islands are liberated.
- May 10, 1877 - Romania declares independence from Turkey.
- May 10, 1940 - Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on the same day that Germany invades the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.
- May 10, 1994 - Nelson Mandela becomes President of South Africa.
- May 11, 1812 - Spencer Perceval becomes the only Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to be assassinated.
- May 11, 1949 - Siam changes its name to Thailand.
- May 12, 1926 - The Italian airship Norge flies over the North Pole.
- May 12, 2008 - A major earthquake strikes Sichuan province, China, killing tens of thousands of people.
- May 13, 1830 - Ecuador gains independence.
- May 13, 1981 - An assassination attempt is made on Pope John Paul II in Vatican City.
- May 14, 1811 - Paraguay gains independence.
- May 14, 1948 - The State of Israel is founded.
- May 15, 1701 - The War of the Spanish Succession begins.
- May 16, 1929 - The first Academy Awards are given out.
- May 16, 1975 - Sikkim unites with India.
- May 16, 2009 - Alexander Rybak of Norway wins the Eurovision Song Contest with a record points total.
- May 17, 1814 - Norway's Constitution is agreed on.
- May 18, 1980 - Mount Saint Helens erupts in Washington State, killing 57 people, and changing the surrounding landscape completely.
- May 18, 1991 - Somaliland declares independence, though this is not recognized internationally.
- May 19, 1536 - Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII of England, is executed.
- May 19, 1991 - Voters in Croatia choose to become independent from Yugoslavia.
- May 20, 1883 - Krakatoa starts a series of eruptions that would end violently in August.
- May 20, 1902 - Cuba becomes independent from the United States.
- May 20, 2002 - East Timor becomes independent from Indonesia.
- May 21, 1927 - Charles Lindbergh flies across the Atlantic Ocean, landing in Paris.
- May 21, 1932 - Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.
- May 21, 1991 - Former Prime Minister of India is assassinated.
- May 22, 1960 - Great Chilean Earthquake
- May 22, 1972 - Ceylon changes its name to Sri Lanka and becomes a Republic.
- May 22, 1980 - The Pac-man game is released.
- May 22, 1990 - Yemen unites.
- May 23, 1568 - The Netherlands declare independence from Spain.
- May 23, 1949 - The Federal Republic of Germany is founded.
- May 24, 1832 - The first Kingdom of Greece is declared.
- May 24, 1956 - The first Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Lugano, Switzerland.
- May 24, 1993 - Eritrea becomes independent from Ethiopia.
- May 25, 1810 - Argentine War of Independence starts.
- May 25, 1963 - The African Union is founded.
- May 26, 1918 - Georgia declares independence from Russia.
- May 26, 1966 - Guyana becomes independent from the United Kingdom.
- May 27, 1937 - The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco opens to people crossing it on foot, opening to vehicle traffic the next day.
- May 28, 1918 - Armenia and Azerbaijan both declare independence on the same day as each other.
- May 28, 2008 - Nepal becomes a Republic.
- May 29, 1660 - Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland becomes King, restoring the monarchy there.
- May 31, 1910 - The Union of South Africa is formed.
- May 31, 1911 - The RMS Titanic is launched in Belfast.
- The floral symbol of May is the Rosa chinensis.
- Along with March, May is one of two months in the English language that start with 'M' and have an 'A' as their second letter. They surround the month of April.
- In the English language, May has the shortest name of all the months of the year.
- The astrological signs for May are Taurus (April 21 to May 21) and Gemini (May 22 to June 21).
- May is the second of three months in a row, in the English language, that can also be a female given name, along with April and June.
- "May" backwards is "Yam", the name of a fruit.
- Two 20th century US Presidents were born in May - Harry S. Truman (May 8) and John F. Kennedy (May 29).
- No President of the United States, to-date, has died in May, though James Buchanan narrowly avoided doing so, dying on the morning of June 1, 1868.