May Holidays and Observances
May 1 May Day; Law Day; International Labor Day
May 2 Orthodox Easter
May 5 Cinco de Mayo
May 8 Truman Day – Missouri
May 9 Mother’s Day – Second Sunday; Rogation Sunday
May 13 Ascension Day
May 15 Law Enforcement Day; Armed Forces Day – Third Saturday
May 18 Victoria Day in Canada
May 20 Mecklenburg Day – North Carolina
May 22 National Maritime Day
May 23 Whitsunday – Pentecost
May 30 Trinity Sunday
May 31 Memorial Day – Observed Last Monday
We continue in the midst, perhaps near the beginning of the end, of a seemingly interminable pandemic. Large social situations such as weddings, school, concerts, sporting events and parades, on “hold” for a year are just beginning to return to “normal.” The pandemic of the “Spanish Flu” in 1918-1920 killed about fifty million world-wide, 675,000 in the United States. The current Covid 19 virus has killed over 550,000 domestically and three million world wide.
The year long limitation on “social gatherings” has had a toll on the mental health of many. The elderly in nursing homes or living alone have had an especially difficult time adjusting to the lack of family visitation. Elementary aged children have lost a significant period of time for face-to-face education and socialization. The return to “normalcy” with concerts and sporting events, open schools and return to travel is coming, albeit too slowly for some.
With vaccines now already widely given and readily available to those who want them, we need to do everything possible to see that as many as possible receive vaccinations to slow the infection. In the meantime, for another few weeks or months, using a mask is still to be encouraged, as well as limiting large social gatherings.
Despite the changes in public life, the seasons continue to change, although this year spring weather and the leafing out of trees is two to three weeks earlier than usual. March and April have been generally mild, with the usual sequence of spring flowers: crocuses and snowdrops, hyacinths and daffodils with tulips just starting to bloom as of this writing in late April. In May, the tulips and lilacs dominate early in the month, followed by iris and peonies by Memorial Day.
May is the peak month for planting a garden. Cooler root crops and greens can be planted early in the month. Memorial Day used to be the date for safely planting frost sensitive tomatoes, peppers, beans and corn. The last frost date has shifted earlier by about two weeks in the past thirty years. However, the early arrival of very warm weather does put fruit trees at risk if there is a heavy frost while trees are blooming.
While there are still limitations on gatherings, there has been an increasing interest in gardening, bicycling, walking and bird watching. Utica is very fortunate to have several areas to hike and bike including along the Mohawk River and canal, the Proctor Parks, Root Glen in Clinton, and Rayhill Trails in New Hartford and Whitesboro. Towards the end of May, Root Glen in particular is a great place to view spring flowers, including wide variety of peonies.
While public events like Memorial Day parades and Mother’s Day dinners at restaurants may be limited, there can be much solace and rejuvenation of spirit by getting outside in the garden or nearby park and simply enjoying the return of nice weather after a difficult winter.
In the Night Skies
Predawn hours early in the month are interesting with Saturn to the upper left of the Crescent Moon on the 3rd, and a triangle of the Moon, Saturn and Jupiter on the 4th, Mohawk Valley Almanac May 2021 Edition about 15° high.
There is a lunar eclipse on the 26th in the pre-dawn sky with the Moon setting while under eclipse. The Moon enters the penumbra at 4:46 A.M. EDT and sets at 5:32 before fully entering the umbra at 5:45 A.M. EDT. The viewing is limited here, more complete in western North America and Hawaii.
Moon Phases for May 2021
May 3 Last Quarter Moon – Rises 2:28 A.M., Southeast; Sets 11:47 A.M., Southwest
May 14 New Moon – Rises 5:46 A.M., East; Sets 8:16 P.M., Northwest
May 19 First Quarter Moon – Rises 12:09 P.M., Northeast; Sets 2:11 A.M., Northwest
May 26 Full Flower Moon – Rises 9:16 P.M., Southeast; Sets 5:32 A.M., Southwest
Rising / Setting of Sun, Moon and Visible Planets on May 1, The Cross Quarter Day of Beltaine
Sunrise 5:52 a.m. Sunset 8:03 p.m.
Waning Gibbous Moonrise 12:41 A.M. P.M. Southeast Moonset 9:31 A.M. Southwest
Mercury Sets 9:21 P.M., Northwest
Venus Sets 8:50 P.M., Northwest
Mars Sets 12:30 A.M., Northwest
Jupiter Rises 3:12 A.M., East
Saturn Rises 2:31 A.M., Southeast