The month May was named for the
Maia, who was identified with the
goddess of fertility,
Bona Dea, whose festival was held in May. Conversely, the Roman poet
Ovid provides a second etymology, in which he says that the month of May is named for the maiores, Latin for "elders," and that the following month (June) is named for the iuniores, or "young people" (Fasti VI.88).
Mayovka, in the context of the late
Russian Empire, was a
picnic in the countryside or in a park in the early days of May, hence the name. Eventually, "mayovka" (specifically, "proletarian mayovka") came to mean an illegal celebration of
May 1 by revolutionary public, typically presented as an innocent picnic.
Special devotions to the
Virgin Mary take place in May. See
May devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Eta Aquariids meteor shower appears in May. It is visible from about April 21 to about May 20 each year with peak activity on or around May 6. The
Arietids shower from May 22-July 2, and peaks on June 7. The
Virginids also shower at various dates in May.
Ancient Roman observances
Under the calendar of ancient Rome, the festival of
Bona Dea fell on May 1,
Argei fell on May 14 or May 15,
Agonalia fell on May 21, and
Ambarvalia on May 29.
Floralia was held April 27 during the
Republican era, or April 28 on the
Julian calendar, and lasted until May 3.
Lemuria (festival) fell on 9,11, and 13 May under the Julian calendar. The
College of Aesculapius and Hygia celebrated two festivals of
Rosalia (festival), one on May 11 and one on May 22. Rosalia was also celebrated at
Pergamon on May 24–26. A military Rosalia festival,
Rosaliae signorum, also occurred on May 31.
Ludi Fabarici was celebrated on May 29-June 1.
Mercury would receive a sacrifice on the Ides of May (May 15).
Tubilustrium took place on May 23 as well as in March. These dates do not correspond to the modern