By Lincoln McElwee
May is a month full of celebrations! From official holidays to unofficial celebrations, from North America, America to the world over, there’s something for everyone to commemorate this May! Children, especially, have many reasons to love the events and celebrations that take place during the month of May. There are many unique, quirky and hilarious events that are celebrated during the month, from small, little-known facts to large-scale celebrations. So enjoy the month of May by traveling near and/or far and by engaging in at least one of these celebrations with your kids!
Mother Goose Day
You can make your May 1st celebration one for the books—literally! May 1st celebrates Mother Goose Day. It’s the perfect day to read your favorite nursery rhymes and children’s stories with your kids. Though the term “Mother Goose” dates back to the 1650s, the holiday itself was created in 1987. And though there seems to be no particular person attributed to “Mother Goose,” the stories themselves can reference such classics as Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. To celebrate, take a trip to your local library, picnic if the weather is nice, or simply cozy up at home with your kids and read. As it turns out, May is also known as National Get Caught Reading Month, so parents and children can partake in two celebrations at once simply by reading a favorite nursery rhyme or children’s story.
To learn more about Mother Goose Day, be sure to visit the Mother Goose Society’s website: http://www.librarysupport.net/mothergoosesociety/
Known by various names, and with different meanings, most countries celebrate the first of May as a commemoration of spring and the coming of summer. Spring flowers are often in abundance during festivities for this day and are actually a big draw for many May Day celebrations. To celebrate, check with your local community for any May Day events, take a trip to the park or an arboretum or simply plan your own festivities in the comfort of your own backyard garden. As May Day falls on a Friday this year, many schools even have events planned for children both inside and outside of the classroom.
May Day also commemorates the rights and contributions of laborers in many countries, so it might be a fun exercise to educate children on the significance of international May Day celebrations for International Workers’ Day, as May Day is also known, that take place as well.
Star Wars Day
Due to a sheer chance, May 4th has become known as Star Wars Day! The story goes that in 2005, a German TV station incorrectly translated the famous line from Star Wars, “May the force be with you,” as “We are with you on May Fourth.” With this simple mistake, fans of the Empire were dealt a lucky blow indeed! To celebrate, children (and parents!) can spend the day dressed up as their favorite character(s), watch movies or the animated series, attend a marathon screening or practice light saber moves with friends and family! The day is also known to some as “Luke Skywalker Day.” Though an unofficial holiday, Star Wars Day is celebrated by many fans as an official national holiday.
For more information about Star Wars Day, be sure to visit: http://www.starwars.com/may-the-4th
National Teacher’s Day
Celebrated on May 5th (always the Tuesday of the first full week of May), National Teacher’s Day celebrates the hard work of the men and women who teach our children and help them to become their very best! Though teachers deserve more than a day of thanks for all of their hard work and dedication, it’s nice to know there’s a particular day to say “thank you” for the wonderful work. We entrust our children into their hands and, as educators, they’re tasked with such a wonderful responsibility. To celebrate, children can make cards or give the proverbial apple to a teacher.
Cinco de Mayo
May 5th is more commonly known as Cinco de Mayo, a day which celebrates Mexican heritage and pride. Children especially love this day as many school districts hold special events both on and off campus to educate children on the historical significance of the day and the early events that inspired it. It’s important to note that the day is an American holiday created by Latinos during the American Civil War. From movies, school fairs, lunches, and talks that include music, food and beverages, children can celebrate a part of America’s history and learn about another culture all while having fun!
For more information on Cinco de Mayo, visit: http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/cinco-de-mayo
National Tourist Appreciation Day
May 6th commemorates tourism in a big way! Most hotels, restaurants, spas, etc. will know about this day, and so the perks for tourists are sometimes even more amazing than usual, kids included. This day is often coupled with National Tourism Day on May 7th, where tourism sites and regions market themselves to the public with discounts and special offers. We as tourists spend a lot of hard earned money in our travels, helping local and national tourism boards, cities and countries. So if you’re not planning on traveling on this day, at least take a moment to pat yourself on the back. Try picking a place in the map and learning a bit about the culture with your child. You can at least be an armchair tourist for the day!
Always the second Sunday in May (May 10th, this year), Mother’s Day celebrates the hard work, boundless love and dedication that mothers foster for their children. Likewise, the day is a special time for us, as children, to commemorate our mothers for all of their hard work. Celebrations range from breakfast in bed, trips to spas or hotel or simply spending the day being treated like royalty by the family. There aren’t enough material gifts in the world to express how we feel about our mothers, but Mother’s Day is about recognition and appreciation, whether outward displays or inward reflection. Make sure you make the most of it!
For more information, visit: http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/mothers-day
Scavenger Hunt Day
Just as the title implies, May 24th is a day for all scavenger hunt enthusiasts! A favorite pastime at birthday parties, sleepovers, colleges, and grade schools, children love scavenger hunts. Not only do scavenger hunts allow for children to engage in group play, thereby enhancing their social skills, it allows children to learn about patience, working together in a team and critical thinking all at one time. So go ahead—set up a scavenger hunt for the neighborhood kids or have a little scavenger hunt fun with just the family!
Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday in May. This year, it will take place on May 25th. This day commemorates our fallen soldiers, the men and women in the armed forces who have given their lives for the pursuit of freedom and to protect and serve their country. Memorial Day is also used to commemorate the loss of our loved ones in general. Celebrations are marked with parades, visiting cemeteries and other ceremonies that honor our fallen soldiers and those we have lost. Many children love Memorial Day as it was designed to take place on a three-day weekend. Though the rest and festivities are merited and make for a good time, it’s a good idea to remind children about the sacrifice and dedication that are at the heart of the day’s observance as a national holiday.
For more information, visit: http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/memorial-day-history