Who is the month of May named after and Where does the word May come from?

The month of May is believed to have been named in honor of a goddess Maia, but it is not certain which goddess was thus honored.

Among the Greeks the divinity so named was regarded as the mother of Hermes, whose father was Zeus.

It would have been strange, however, for the Romans to have placed the name of a Greek goddess in their calendar.

Late Roman writers, who may have been right, explained that Maia was the ancient name of Fauna, daughter or sister of Faunus, and that she was therefore the goddess of spring.

The Roman months were presumably named by Numa who was traditionally the successor of Romulus and who aided him in the founding of Rome. Numa was a member of the neighboring tribe of the Sabini, and he may have used the old Sabine name, Maia, later called Fauna by the Romans.

Some think that the ancient name was one of the various appellations of the great goddess whom the Romans usually referred to as Bona Dea, “the good goddess.”

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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