May is the fifth month of the year. It may be named after Maia, the Roman goddess of spring and fertility. Her name relates back to a Latin term meaning “growth” or “spring.” The emerald is the birthstone for May. Lily of the valley and hawthorne are May’s flowers. In the Northern Hemisphere, May is a month of warm days, leafy trees, and blossoming flowers. However, in the Southern Hemisphere May means cold days, bare trees, and slumbering flowers.
Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month has been honored by Presidential Proclamation every year since 1979.
Jewish American Heritage Month, proposed by President George W. Bush in 2006, recognizes the contributions of Jewish Americans. Children can learn more at: http://www.jewishheritagemonth.gov/.
Older Americans Month has been celebrated by Presidential Proclamation every year since 1963.
National Bike Month stresses the importance of the bicycle for fun and physical fitness. Over five million people participate across the country. Interested people could visit a website: http://bikeleague.org/bikemonth
National Physical Fitness and Sports Month stresses the importance of exercise. Children can learn more at: http://www.fitness.gov/.
Children’s Book Week is sponsored by the Children’s Book Council. This year the event runs from May 1 through May 7. Children can learn more at: http://www.bookweekonline.com/.
National Police Week has been observed by Presidential Proclamation since 1962. It is the week that includes May 15. This year the week includes May 14 through May 20.
National Transportation Week has been observed by Presidential Proclamation since 1960. It is the week including the third Friday of May. This year transportation will be honored From May 11 through May 17.
National Teacher Appreciation Day is the Tuesday of the first full week of May. This year the date is May 9.
Kentucky Derby is the first Saturday in May. This year the Derby falls on May 6.
Mother’s Day is the second Sunday in May. It was first celebrated by Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She asked that her church hold a service in memory of all mothers. A Presidential Proclamation has been made every year since 1914, honoring the day. This year Mother’s Day is May 14.
Armed Forces Day is the third Saturday in May. It has been remembered by Presidential Proclamation since 1936. This year the date is May 20.
Memorial Day is the last Monday in May. The first recorded Memorial Day was in 1865. The day honors the dead, especially those who died in battle. This year Memorial Day is May 29.
National Spelling Bee Finals are held during the week containing Memorial Day. This year the dates are May 28 through June 4. Children can learn more at: http://www.spellingbee.com/