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Opinion

Month of May filled with worldwide, local traditions, events

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May 2, 2013

Despite the weather outside, we have finally reached the last month of the 2013 spring semester: May.

Internationally, May is a month that recognizes several holidays, such as Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, days of awareness, and different symbols, such as “May flowers.” Here in River Falls, May means warmer weather (hopefully), Finals Fest and final exams and of course, summer break. With final papers and projects in nearly every class, it is a stressful time for many students. Though when it is all over in only a few short weeks, there will be a lot to look forward to.

On the Gregorian and Julian calendars, May means autumn for the southern hemisphere and spring for the northern hemisphere. The seasonal change in the southern hemisphere is the equivalent to November here in the northern hemisphere. While no month begins or ends on the same day of the week as May in any year, January in the following year begins and ends on the same day as May in the current year.

The month itself is said to be named after the Greek goddess Maia, similar in comparison to the Roman era goddess of fertility because her festival was held during the month.
The zodiac signs for May are Taurus (the bull), through May 20, and Gemini (the twins), starting on May 21 and extending into June. This, however, is just before the constellations are visible in the night sky. The zodiac signs and constellations do not directly correlate with one another.

The birthstone for May is the emerald. This birthstone generally means love or success.
One of the birth flowers is the Lily of the Valley, which is a poisonous woodland flowering plant, typically lavender in color. This flower is usually found in Asia, Europe and the southern Appalachian Mountains. The other birth flower is the Crataegus monogyna, a species of Hawthorn plants found in Europe, northwest Africa and western Asia.

There are many holidays celebrated around the world during May. These include May Day, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, among others. May Day is a Gaelic holiday that originated from the medieval era. It is most common to deliver a basket to a friend’s house and run away after ringing the doorbell, but it is also a day known for art and skits.

It is a common misconception that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day. The day is actually for celebrating a triumphant victory in the Battle of Puebla during the Mexican-American War. Mexicans use the day to celebrate their Mexican heritage and pride. In addition, several other countries celebrate Cinco de Mayo, especially the United States.

River Falls is also looking forward to an exciting May as the school year wraps up. One event that many students are looking forward to is Finals Fest 2013, featuring Phillip Phillips. He is stopping in River Falls as a part of his 2013 tour. The Georgia native is best known for his win on the 11th season of “American Idol,” but since then, he has begun to make his mark in the music industry. He released his first album, “The World from the Side of the Moon,” on Nov. 19, 2012. This was shortly after his single, “Home,” went viral. This is the song he sang upon his American Idol win, but the song really became popular during the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. It was used as the theme song for the U.S. women’s gymnastics team before showing the gymnastics coverage. “Home” was also nominated last year for a Teen Choice Award. His second single, “Gone, Gone, Gone” (my personal favorite), was released this past February.

May is a stressful time as the semester wraps up and students are loaded with work to do. The comforting thought is knowing only two weeks lie between us and summer break, which is definitely reason for motivation. Hopefully soon we will see the flowers bloom and trees bud and be able to enjoy May like it is supposed to be.

Cristin Dempsey is an English major and music minor from Eagan, Minn. She enjoys writing, playing the flute and swimming. After college she would like to pursue a career as an editor.