The Origin of the Month of May

There are a two theories on how the month of May* got its name.

  • The month of May was named for the Greek goddess, Maia. She was the daughter of Atlas, a Titan who was responsible for bearing the weight of the heavens on his shoulders, and the mother of Hermes, the messenger of Gods. Maia was considered the goddess of spring and growth. She was considered a nurturer of Earth and growing plants. Her Roman equivalent, Bona Dea, was known as the goddess of fertility and named for the Latin word "maius," meaning large. She is also associated with growth and the springtime.
  • Latin poet, Ovid, thought May was named after the Latin word "maiores," which means elders. He said the month was given this name because it came before the month of June. The Latin word in which June was name after is "iuniores," meaning youth or young people.

*The name May is not related to the verb may, meaning able to.

May 01, 2018 Staff

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