Embrace May’s energies of fertility, magnetism, and new birth.

Ancient scholars claim that May is derived from Maia, the mother of Mercury (Hermes), known as a nurturer in Greek religion, and, in Roman religion, the embodiment of growth and the earth’s essence. The May deity in other traditions was called the great mother, Mater Magna, named after the earth’s majesty.

Welcoming the month with song and dance, May Day festivals come from a rich line of tradition. Ancients celebrated by fertilizing and blessing the land, infusing it with energy. Some speculate these festivities originate from ancient India and Egypt, where people would celebrate the sun’s entering Taurus as well as nature’s overall revival. Historically, the festival has been celebrated in various ways across cultures. The only common ground between the different interpretations is the brilliant May season.

The maypole, traditionally instrumental to the month’s celebrations, is said to have stood as a symbol of fertility in the middle of a town area or marketplace. Sometimes made of oak, elm, or birch, the pole would be painted and capped with a flag. It became a central celebratory icon for festivities, often danced around and adorned with flowers.

Gardens are clothed in a near full-bloom of green life. Flowers of the deepest purples and brightest yellows open themselves up to the world around them. Birds of all kinds sing in a vibrant chorus, swans rest on calm pond waters. Tender daffodils, peonies, and lily of the valley adorn rolling hills and the now fully-awakened earth. Azalea and fleur de lis spill with color and come up in the meadows, while geraniums and water lily soften their surroundings with their soothing hues. And like the brilliantly lush greenery that blossoms in full force, May’s birthstone, the emerald, is an emblem of bountiful success and overflowing love.

America’s most famous horse race, the Kentucky Derby, occurs during the month, and on the 5th, Cinco de Mayo honors Mexican culture. In the Catholic tradition, on the 13th, May commemorates the anniversary of a divine appearance of Mother Mary.

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Written by Christopher Janigian