Why is the Month of May dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary?

Where did the devotion of the month of May to the Blessed Virgin Mary come from?
The month of May is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and this year (2021), the first 23 days of the Marian month falls within the Easter Season. This Christian custom of dedicating the month of May to the Blessed Virgin arose at the end of the 13th century this tradition of devoting 30 days to Mary called Tricesimum, which was also known as “Lady Month.”
However, it was not until the early 18th century that this practice became popular. This was mainly credited to the Society of Jesus of in Rome. The Jesuits devoted the month of May to Mary in order to counteract infidelity and immorality among the students in their colleges. This took root among their students and was publicly practiced in the Gesu Church in Rome. Owing to their numerous colleges around the world, the devotion spread worldwide by the late 1700’s.
It was Pope Pius XII in 1945, through his encyclical, Ad Caeli Reginam, canonized May as a Marian month to coincide with the establishing the feast of the Queenship of Mary on May 31st. However, after the Second Vatican Council, this feast was moved to August 22nd, and the feast of the Visitation of Mary took it’s place to complete the Month of Mary.

Some Popular May Traditions With Regard to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Most widely practiced is of course the recitation of the Holy Rosary in families, communities and Churches. Echoing Pope Pius XII’s encyclical, many accompanying devotional practices arose besides the rosary- from May Crowning of the statues or icons of Our Lady to popular hymns compositions:

Daughter of The mighty Father,
Stainless Maiden, Queen of the May,
Angel forms around thee gather:
Chorus: Macula non est in te.

Adjoining to these, many cultures also have ‘May Queen’ processions. A girl rides or walks at the front of a Marian Procession wearing a white gown to symbolize purity and usually a tiara or crown symbolizing the crown of life that awaits the blessed. Her duty is Crown the icon or the statue of Our Lady at the procession. Flores de Mayo (“Flowers of May”) is the practice of collecting colourful flowers with which to decorate the parish church’s Altars, nave, aisles and especially the shrine of Our Lady.

What we can do in May

Let us take this occasion during this month of Mary to dedicate our prayers with her by praying the rosary or the Regina Caeli or Angelus. Let us consider Consecrating our homes and families to Her by honouring Her image in our homes. Most of all let us imitate our Blessed Lady, Her deep humility, lively faith, obedience, unceasing prayer, constant self-denial, surpassing purity, ardent love, heroic patience, angelic kindness, and heavenly wisdom!
If we truly love someone, you will only want to get to know them better, but to imitate their good qualities (that which we call virtues). So that we will not only be worthy children of Our Blessed Queen of May but also worthy of heaven.
Written by Fr Ignatius Yeo, Parish Priest, Church of St Anthony