There are so many memorable and commemorated days this month, how do we keep track of the whys and wherefores of them all. Here are a few of the ancient superstitions surrounding May dating back to earliest Celtic times.
May was considered the least advantageous for weddings as the offspring of a May bride (and groom) were doomed to have bad luck. Also, farm animals born during this month were believed to be obstinate and a pack of bother. Shetlanders never marry in May, preferring the winter months – after the fishing season had ended.
May begins the fishing season in the northern reaches of Scotland and the Isle of Man. People who engage in dangerous jobs often hold superstitions that seem to have protective qualities. Manx and Scots fisherman never used English or Scottish words at sea, sticking to Norn, a descendant of Old Norse.
When I was a child, every school held a May Day festival for which we practiced all through the early spring to dance around the Maypole, a Druidic tradition.
In Wales, a cold May was believed to mean a full barn and an empty graveyard.
More recently, we have designated May for the celebration of motherhood which grew from the Christian church event of Mothering Sunday, when the small local chapel congregations gathered at the mother church – the parish center – usually celebrated in March in British countries.
This past weekend we commemorated Armed Forces Day:
“President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.
“On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days.
The single day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under the Department of Defense.”
Memorial Day is commemorated the last weekend of May, but the actually date is the 31st.
“Today is a special day. It is a day of honor and reverence; it is a solemn day. Today we must recognize an unfortunate fact of life: our beloved country was formed and is protected by the blood of warriors. …”
Allow me to take this opportunity to express my deepest respect and gratitude to every man and woman who has served in the Armed Forces in the United States and my heartfelt condolences to those who are grieving the loss of their loved ones.
Your sacrifice is never forgotten.