Interesting Facts to Know About May


Welcome to another month of 2017 and last full month of Spring as we creep into summer. What makes this month so special other the beautiful May flowers? 

May Day marks May 1st marking the day smack dab in the middle between spring and summer and celebrated around the world. However that's not the reason why hundreds of Seattleites march the streets of downtown. May 1st is also the day where industrial workers across the U.S. went on strike in 1886 demanding 8 hour work days. Sadly the strike turned violent on the night of May 4, 1886 in Chicago when 180 policemen tried to break up the night's last meeting and a bomb exploded. It wounded 67 policemen and seven died. They opened fire in retaliation killing several men and wounding 200 protesters. The tragedy is known as the Haymarket affair.  Three years later in 1889 in commemoration of the Haymarket affair, May 1 became an international holiday for labor. Some call the day Labor Day (not to be confused with September's holiday), but it is recognized around the world as International Worker's Day.

May Day 8 Hours Labor Rights
Yet, as we tried to learn from history and avoid repeating the mistakes of the past some have not taken note. Throughout the world people still gather to march for labor rights causing riots, instilling violence, and property damage including in Seattle. Perhaps this year or one in the near future we can change the pattern and instead work hard to instill peace. 

Now that we got through that... How did May get its name? It's origin is sometimes confused that it is named after the Greek goddess, Maia. However it seems we have a case of mistaken identity. It was actually named after the Roman goddess of spring and growth - also named Maia. I guess Maia was a popular name in ancient times. 

Roman goddess Maia
Engaged and planning your wedding? Don't save the date for a day in May. An old superstition claims May was once considered a bad luck month to get married.

"When February birds do mate, You wed nor dread your fate. If you wed when March winds blow, joy and sorrow both you'll know. Marry in April when you can, Joy for Maiden and for Man. Marry in the month of May, and you'll surely rue the day." Better safe than sorry.

Those lucky enough to be born in May are more likely to achieve higher success and more love in their life - as long as they don't marry in May.

Speaking of love, back in the day where chivalry wasn't dead, some communities took advantage of May Basket Day. Hanging a May basket of flowers on someone's door expressed romantic interest. If a basket-hanger was caught by the receiver of their love, the receiver would chase the "hanger" and try to steal a kiss. Today we just swipe right, hope for match and get sent an emoji. Man have the romantic times have changed. 

Besides love interests, May had some other unlucky rules. According to an ancient British superstition, it was unlucky to buy a new broom in this month and wash a blanket. Not sure what would happen if you did, but a little dirt never killed anyone. Or did it? 

Historic May Happenings

1790 - U.S. Copyright law enacted 

1792 - The New York Stock Exchange was formed

1883 - Brooklyn Bridge opened to traffic

1914 - Although referred to since the late 1800s, US President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Mother's Day holiday

1931 - Empire State Building opened making it the tallest building in NYC at that time

1980 - Very close to home, Mount St. Helens in Washington erupted with a 5.1 magnitude, causing a massive avalanche and killed 57 people. As there is constant fear of it erupting again; the bigger fear is Mount Rainier, which is marked as the 3rd most dangerous volcano in the nation. Last erupting in the 1840's, it closely monitored but no prediction on when it will erupt again. 

1982 - The Weather Channel began broadcasting in the US. For May 2017, it is currently forecasting a glorious month of sunshine with little rain in the 60s-70s.

Happy May Seattle!


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