May Birth Month Symbols And Fun Facts

Welcome May! This month is about the happiness that unfolds as blossoms burst forth in vibrant colors. For many people in the Northern Hemisphere, thoughts of summer fun come to mind as temperatures rise to comfortable new highs and spring’s stormy weather tends to balance out. Farmers’ Almanac invites you to discover delightful May birth month symbols: flowers, stones, zodiac signs, herbs, bird of the month, and more! We hope these, along with May fun facts, encourage you to see the beauty all around! Share your thoughts (and photos) in the comments, and let’s savor this month in bloom together.

May Birth Month Symbols

May is filled with symbols that remind us of renewal and joy. The dainty bloom, the lily of the valley, symbolizes the return of happiness and love, while the emerald stone stands for wisdom and intuition, providing the energy we need for appreciating life. Taurus and Gemini stand as the month’s zodiac guardians, bringing ambition and intellect to those born during this month. The hummingbird, May’s bird of the month, buzzes with excitement and brings the message of good things to come! Thyme and mint are healing herbs associated with this month, adding even more meaning to those born during May.

May fun facts and birth flower, lily of the valley, which symbolizes the return of happiness.

May Birth Month Flower: Lily Of The Valley

Lily of the valley, despite its name, isn’t a lily but a perennial ground cover adorned with delicate, bell-shaped blooms. Belonging to the asparagus family, its sweet-scented blossoms grace gardens in spring and early summer. Known scientifically as Convallaria majalis, it’s also affectionately called mayflower, maylily, maybells, and even our lady’s tears, a tribute to its delightful presence during the month of May.

Across many cultures, the lily of the valley holds a cherished status as a symbol of luck and prosperity, believed to usher in good fortune when planted around homes. Greek mythology intertwines it with tales of protection, as Apollo is said to have adorned the woods with this delicate bloom to safeguard the feet of his muses. As the revered flower of May, it shares a poignant connection with Maia, the Greek goddess of spring and fertility.

In religious contexts, the lily of the valley assumes a role steeped in purity and humility. Often depicted in sacred art, it symbolizes renewal and rebirth, its delicate petals thought to have sprung from the tears of the Virgin Mary during Jesus’s crucifixion. Furthermore, these blooms are closely tied to Pentecost, a celebration commemorating the Holy Spirit’s descent upon the Apostles, serving as a beacon of hope in spiritual narratives.

May Fun Facts:

  • Beware: Lily of the valley contains cardiac glycosides which are toxic to humans and animals.
  • Lily of the valley can spread quite aggressively, forming dense colonies—considered by some to be invasive. Many gardeners will plant lily of the valley under trees in the shade, where other flowers don’t fare well.
May fun facts represented by birthstone, emerald, is associated with wisdom and intuition.

May Birthstone: Emerald

Emeralds are beautiful green gems admired by people all over the world. They come in many different shades of green, from light to dark. The word “emerald” comes from old French and ancient Greek words that mean “green gem.” A famous Roman writer named Pliny the Elder said that emeralds are the greenest thing there is.

Emeralds are regarded as the birthstone for May as they symbolize the beautiful greenery of spring. People have loved emeralds for thousands of years. Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, loved emeralds so much that she had mines built near Cairo to get more of them. Many other royal families, like the Egyptians and the Incas, also wore emeralds. They believed emeralds had special powers like bringing good luck, long life, and wealth.

In ancient stories, emeralds were connected to the goddesses Aphrodite and Venus, who were the gods of love and beauty. The Egyptians thought emeralds could heal people. They wore them as necklaces to keep them safe. Some people called emeralds the “Truth Stone” because they believed emeralds could make people wiser and bring them good luck. Today, people still love emeralds for their beauty and believe they can help make wishes come true.

Related product: May Birthstone – Blue Agate Necklace

May Fun Facts:

  • Aristotle wrote that wearing emerald necklaces or rings during a speech would help with eloquence.
  • Top-quality emeralds can be worth more than diamonds on a per-carat basis.

May Colors: Green And Lilac

May’s color theme is green, perfectly suited to the season of renewal as spring brings life back to the world.

Green signifies growth, just like the buds and grasses that awaken after winter. It’s also tied to May’s birthstone, the emerald, mentioned above. Alongside green, lilac adds a soft and gentle hue to a spring landscape, symbolizing tranquility.

May Fun Facts:

  • According to psychological studies, the color green is calming and puts people at ease.
  • Although the lilac flower is commonly associated with shades of purple, they come in a variety of colors, including pink, white, blue, and even yellow.
Full Moon May is called the Flower Moon.

Full Flower Moon

May’s full moon is known as “The Flower Moon,” in honor of the blossoming flowers across North America during this time. Native American names for the Moon reflect the greenery of May. The Apache people term it as “The Season When the Leaves are Green,” the Lakota as the “Moon of the Green Leaves,” and the Mohawk as “The Time of Big Leaf.”

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May Fun Facts:

  • The full Flower Moon symbolizes passion, life, and reincarnation.
  • The Anglo-Saxons dubbed May’s full moon as the “Milk Moon” from the Old English word Rimilcemona, meaning “three-milkings-month,” because cows had to be milked three times a day during the month of May. May was also the month when cows were shifted to pastures to graze.

Zodiac Signs: Taurus And Gemini

Two zodiac signs are associated with the May birth month: Taurus and Gemini.

Taurus, one of the May symbols.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Taurus, the second sign of the zodiac, is characterized by a strong determination to pursue desires. Represented by the bull, Taureans are renowned for their intelligence, ambition, and dependability, making them indispensable members of any team. While they maintain a steadfast and grounded demeanor, they also relish in life’s physical pleasures, indulging in gourmet meals, fine wines, and artistic endeavors that ignite their creative spirit. Self-care rituals like pampering sessions, rejuvenating runs, and massages are common practices for Tauruses, who prioritize honoring their physical well-being.

In relationships, Tauruses put loyalty and honesty first, valuing genuine connections over drama. They are steadfast companions, loyal colleagues, and committed partners who appreciate differing perspectives but refuse to compromise their own values merely to please others. Despite their admirable qualities, Tauruses can sometimes struggle with flexibility and authority, yet once they extend their trust, they prove to be loyal, engaging, and humorous friends.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Gemini, considered the most intricate of the zodiac signs, is represented by the celestial twins, suggesting a dual personality.

Playful, smart, curious, and sharp-witted, Geminis are often called the “Jack of all trades.” Their adaptability allows them to handle many tasks and mingle easily in social settings. They enjoy intellectual challenges and can entertain themselves, tapping into their creativity when alone. Geminis are optimists who can find the bright side of any situation and bounce back easily from setbacks.

Geminis are funny, witty, and love to be the center of attention at gatherings. They make great friends and are skilled at fitting in with different crowds. Although they are talkative and enjoy intellectual pursuits, Geminis also have a sensitive side that needs care.

Despite their reputation for being two-faced, Geminis are loyal companions who value love and its simple gestures. Their desire for stability eventually leads them to settle down with a partner. Despite their outgoing nature, Geminis often struggle to express their true feelings, hiding behind a mask to protect their vulnerabilities.

May Fun Facts:

  • Taurus is guided by the planet of love, Venus. Taurus prefers relationships that are drama-free and steady, where they feel loved and secure. They appreciate little acts of love, like giving flowers or sharing a meal together.
  • Gemini is influenced by Mercury, the planet of communication and intellect. They value friendships where they can express themselves freely and engage in lively discussions.
May symbols represented by herb of the month, thyme.

May Herbs of the Month

The connection between herbs and zodiac signs stems from the idea that specific herbs possess qualities that resonate with the personality traits associated with each zodiac sign.

According to this belief, certain herbs are thought to amplify the positive characteristics of individuals born under particular signs, or to offer remedies for the common challenges they face.

Taurus herbs (April-May): Mint is a hardy perennial with a fresh and spicy profile. Easily identifiable by their square stems, opposite leaves, and distinct minty smell, mint can practically grow itself! These prolific growers have long stems flopping over, rooting wherever it meets the soil.

It is advised to keep mint separated from your other vegetables in your garden. Many people plant it in containers or pathway crevices, to prevent aggressive spread and the mint from robbing all the nutrients from other plants. Mint can be planted outdoors after the threat of frost.

Many people are familiar with spearmint and peppermint, but there are plenty of other types, like chocolate mint, orange mint, apple mint, lavender mint, and banana mint. Some are popular for cooking, while others have medicinal properties. Mint offers various health perks, such as helping digestion, easing cold symptoms, and lessening allergic reactions.

Gemini herbs (May-June): Thyme is a popular herb renowned for its unique flavor that makes it a kitchen essential. Belonging to the mint family, thyme boasts dozens of varieties, with French or English thyme being the most commonly used in cooking. Usually dried, it adds savory touches to soups, meats, and veggies. Originally from the Mediterranean, thyme is tough, needing little water and thriving in summer heat. It can be grown in containers or directly in the ground, and even in winter, it sprouts new leaves come early spring.

Beyond its value in cooking, thyme has a rich history of medicinal properties and is packed with nutrients. It supports the immune system, lifts mood, treats respiratory issues, fights sore throats, addresses acne, and helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol. For centuries, thyme has symbolized courage and strength.

Ancient Greeks and Romans used thyme as a potent antiseptic for wounds and skin infections, as well as for colds and chest congestion. Before antibiotics, thyme oil was applied to bandages for its active ingredient, thymol, known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties—this same ingredient is found in many mouthwashes and toothpastes today.

May Fun Facts:

  • In the Middle Ages, thyme was believed to have magical properties and was used to ward off evil spirits.
  • Thyme has been known to be an effective pest control for rats, mice, and mosquitos. You can make your own homemade repellent by mixing four drops of thyme oil for every teaspoon of carrier oil, such as olive oil, jojoba oil, etc. (or every two ounces of water).
May symbols represented by bird of the month, hummingbird.

May Birth Month Bird: Hummingbird

Hummingbirds are a cherished sight in any bird lover’s yard, symbolizing hope, peace, and good fortune. These agile and graceful creatures embody joy, love, and the ability to navigate life swiftly and effortlessly, making them particularly meaningful for those born in May.

The name “hummingbird” originates from the humming sound created by their wings. Some species beat their wings as much as 80 times per second! Their unique design allows them to fly in a figure-eight pattern (forward, vertically, horizontally, and even backward)—unlike any other creature!

Related: Hummingbird Moth

May Fun Facts:

  • Hummingbirds also have incredible spatial memory, remembering feeding locations years later! This is thanks to a large hippocampus portion of the brain, the section zoned for learning and spatial memory.
  • Hummingbirds prefer to travel solo as opposed to flocks. Some of these solitary migrants trek as far as Alaska to Mexico.

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What Does “May” Mean?

The month of May is named after the Greek Goddess Maia, goddess of nature and growing plants. She was identified in the Roman era as Bona Dea, the goddess of fertility, whose festival was held in May. In Greek and Roman mythology, Maia is associated with concepts related to fertility, motherhood, midwifery, and growth.

May Fun Facts:

  • The Roman poet Ovid had different ideas surrounding the etymology of the naming of May. He claimed it was from the Latin word maiores which translates to elders,” that the month gained its name.
  • The month of May shares its name with the word “may,” a verb used to express possibility and permission, but this is merely a coincidence.

May Calendar

May is the fifth month in the Gregorian calendar, containing 31 days and is the last month of astronomical spring in the Northern Hemisphere. In the old Roman calendar, May was called Maius and was the third month because the year started in March. The Roman ruler, Numa Pompilius gave the calendar a lunar makeover in 700 BCE and added January and February to the calendar, making May the fifth month of the year.

What Is May Day (Beltane)?

Beltane, or May Day, is celebrated on the first of May, marking the halfway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. Beltane is a Pagan holiday, celebrating life and fertility. During Beltane, people light bonfires and dance around Maypoles as a way to symbolically stir up the earth’s energy to promote fertility.

Maypoles likely date back to pagan rituals in Germany around the 13th century and over time, the tradition likely spread and served either as a celebration of spring or fertility for the season to come.

Originally, the maypole was a living tree and then eventually a long Birch pole secured in the ground, consisting of flowers on the top and ribbons all around. Men and women dancers weave the ribbons together clockwise in playful merriment: a splendid reminder that spring has sprung, and warm days are ahead!

May Fun Facts:

  • Despite popular belief, Cinco de Mayo (May 5) is not Mexican Independence Day, but a celebration to commemorate the defeat of the French army during the Batalla de Puebla (Battle of Puebla) in Mexico on May 5, 1862. In the US, Cinco de Mayo is regarded as a day to celebrate Mexican culture, experiences, and achievements.
  • On the last Monday of May, we celebrate Memorial Day, when people in the United States remember and mourn the soldiers and military personnel who died in military service. It is a tradition to visit cemeteries and place flags on the graves of soldiers. See our Memorial Day Forecast here!

May Weather Lore

You may be familiar with more common lore such as “April showers, brings May flowers,” but there are some lesser known lores that some say rival the local weatherman. “When sound travels far and wide, a stormy day will betide,” is one beloved bit of weather lore which stems from the fact that sound travels best in humidity, as moist air is less dense than dry air. With less mass for sound waves to move through, it travels further and faster. Some people believe that a layer of rain clouds amplifies sound, contributing to the atmospheric conditions associated with approaching storms.

 Here are some additional May weather folklore expressions:

  • Dry May. Wet June.
  • Cold, wet May. Barn full of hay.
  • Hoarfrost on the 1st of May indicates a good harvest.
  • A dry May and a leaking June make the farmer whistle a merry tune.

Speaking of weather … plan ahead with Farmers’ Almanac Summer Forecast—FREE!

May Night Sky

A spectacular night sky event in May is the Eta Aquariid Meteor Shower, which originated from Halley’s Comet. Beginning in late April and continuing until the third week of May, the Aquarids reach peak activity in the first week of May. (See link below for more details.)

While the meteor shower is mostly visible from the Southern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere residents may also get a sneak peak. The Eta Aquarids seems to emerge from the direction of the constellation Aquarius, hence the name.

May Fun Facts:

  • The waxing and waning Crescent Moon phases in April and May are the best time to see the ghostly “Da Vinci glow,” also known as earthshine. Earthshine is sunlight reflected by the Earth onto the lunar surface, and then again into the eyes of viewers, giving the unlit portion of the Moon a ghostly radiance. This subtle and eerie light is only visible when a slim crescent moon is visible close to the horizon during the last and first few days of a new Moon.
  • The Spring Triangle is a prominent asterism that can be seen in the Southeastern sky of the Northern Hemisphere, during March and May. It involves an imaginary triangle drawn upon the celestial sphere, with its defining vertices at these bright stars: Arcturus, Spica, and Regulus.

May Gardening

If you love getting your hands in the dirt, you’re probably doing the happy dance with gardening finally in full swing! Here are some helpful reminders for what to do:

  • Add compost to your garden beds.
  • Divide your perennials to make new beds.
  • Plan when to get seedlings and seeds into the ground with your last frost dates.

  • Plant summer-flowering bulbs, such as dahlias, gladioli, and lilies, for vibrant blooms later in the season.
  • Start a herb garden by planting herbs like basil, cilantro, and parsley, which thrive in warmer weather.
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs once they have finished blooming to encourage healthy growth and shape.
  • Mulch around your plants to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature as the weather warms up.
  • Install supports for tall-growing plants like tomatoes, peppers, and beans to help them grow upright and prevent them from flopping over.
  • Begin sowing warm-season vegetables and annual flowers directly into the garden, such as tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini, sunflowers, and cosmos.
  • Keep an eye out for pests and diseases and take proactive measures to manage them to ensure healthy plant growth.
  • Set up a watering schedule to ensure that your plants receive adequate moisture, especially during dry spells or hot weather.
  • Consider adding some pollinator-friendly plants to your garden to attract bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects.
  • Take time to enjoy your garden and observe the changes as plants grow and bloom throughout the month!

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Recipes For May

Here are some Farmers’ Almanac springtime favorites: 

Lemon Chicken Thyme

Yummy Brunch Recipes for Mother Day

Ham, Egg, and Asparagus Bake

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

May Trivia

  • Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. Unique Mother’s Day activities and gift ideas!
  • May 4 is a day Star Wars fans tend to celebrate because the date, stated as “May the fourth,” sounds like “May the force be with you”—a well-known phrase from the film. The characters in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) used this phrase to wish each other good luck.
  • No US president has ever died in the month of May. In every other month of the year, at least one US president has died.
  • May was once considered an incredibly ill-omened time to get married. There’s an adage for it actually, which goes: “Marry in May and you’ll rue the day.” Farmers’ Almanac “Best Days” to get married!
  • The Empire State Building opened its doors on May 1, 1931.
  • Many famous people were born in May: Mark Zuckerberg, Karl Marx, Clint Eastwood, Wes Anderson, John F. Kennedy, Queen Victoria, and Catherine the Great!

Join The Discussion 

Were you born in May?

Which symbols for May are your favorites?

Do you know any interesting May fun facts, symbols, or folklore not mentioned above?

Share with your community here in the comments below!

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