Call me biased but May is my favorite month of the year and why not, it is the month that welcomed me in this world. On a more serious note, May is a beautiful time of the year as the sun shines bright and flowers abound. In case you don't know, this month was named for Maia, the Greek goddess of fertility. I wonder why is it considered a bad luck month for marriages then! Recall that poem that goes something like this - "Marry in May and you'll rue the day". Who cares when June is next in line *wink*
Besides the promise of warmth and floral bliss, May is also celebrated as the National Smile Month in the United Kingdom.
And now it's time for some history lessons. Let's explore the list of major events that happened in the month of May. It's always good to add to your knowledge, isn't it?
Besides marking the birth anniversary of Mary "Mother" Jones, May 1 is also observed as May Day, a holiday and spring festival since ancient times. It is also observed as Labor Day or International Workers' Day/holiday in socialist countries to mark the celebrations of the labor movement.
This day in 1707, Great Britain was formed as a result of a union between England and Scotland.
The first day of May also marks the official opening of the Empire State Building (1931).
In 1979, Margaret Thatcher became Britain's first woman prime minister.
In 1961, astronaut Alan B. Shepard went on the first manned space flight and became the first American to make it into space. Cheers to that!
The day marks the culmination of World War II in Europe as General Alfred Jodl signed the absolute surrender of all the German fighting forces in 1945. However, the victory was celebrated the following day.
Leland Stanford, president of the Central Pacific, drove a golden spike to celebrate the first transcontinental railroad completion between the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railways that was linked at Promontory Point, Utah.
It was on this day in 1908 that the first Mother's Day was observed in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Pope John Paul II was shot twice in St. Peter's Square in Rome while he was riding an open automobile. The unfortunate incident happened in 1981.
Developed by Dr. Edward Jenner, the first smallpox vaccine was administered in 1796.
The first Academy Awards were held in 1929 on this day at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
The ever-bustling New York Stock Exchange was established by two dozen brokers and merchants in 1792. The day marks the birth of the Wall Street.
May 17 also saw the first Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs in Louisville in 1875.
The daring Napoleon went on to literally crown himself as the Emperor of France in 1804, by snatching the crown from the Pope during the actual coronation ceremony and placing it on his own head.
Amelia Earhart departed Newfoundland, Canada and landed near Londonderry, Ireland in about 13 hours, thus becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
The American Red Cross was founded in Washington D.C. by Clara Barton in 1881. This noble organization provides volunteer disaster relief in the United States and abroad. The day also marks the unfortunate assassination of the former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in the midst of a re-election campaign.
The Brooklyn Bridge was first opened to traffic in the year 1883.
Here's an interesting piece of information for the casino lovers. You will be glad to know that America's first legal casino was opened in 1978 this day in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco was opened to the public in 1937 and saw 200,000 people strolling across it to celebrate the grand opening.
The Turks captured the city of Constantinople in 1453 and renamed it Istanbul. This brought an end to the Byzantine Empire as Istanbul went on to become the capital of the Ottoman Empire. May 29, 1969, also witnessed Crosby, Stills, and Nash releasing their first album.
The widely celebrated American poet, Walt Whitman was born on this day in 1819.