This is a big month for Bahá’í holy days. Ridvan, a 12-day holiday that began on April 19, will end on the evening of May 1. But, they also honor the Declaration of the Báb starting on the evening of May 22 (see below) and the Ascension of Baháʼu'lláh starting on the evening of May 27. Here are a few other late spring holy days coming up this month.
Beltane (May 1): For Wiccans and Neo-Pagans, the first day of May marks an important cross-quarter holiday (one that falls half-way between a solstice and an equinox). For the northern hemisphere, it’s Beltane, which highlights the earth’s vitality. The Green Man (representing energy and fecundity) falls for the beautiful May Queen (wearing springtime flowers in her hair). Their love ushers in the abundance of summer.
Vesak (May 7): Vesak is one of the most important holy days in the Buddhist tradition. It almost always incorporates a celebration of the Buddha’s birth, which happened around 500 or 600 BCE. However, many Buddhists also honor the Buddha’s enlightenment and the Buddha’s death. According to tradition, those things happened on the same day as the Buddha’s birth, but 35 and 80 years later, respectively. Buddhists around the world celebrate on different dates, but many will celebrate around May 7.
Declaration of the Báb (starts evening, May 22): The Báb was the forerunner of Baháʼu'lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í faith. Born Sayyid Ali Muhammad in early 19th century Persia, he declared himself the Báb, which means “Gate,” at the age of 25. He believed he was the harbinger of a new religious age and predicted the coming of Baháʼu'lláh. He is regularly compared to John the Baptist of the Christian tradition.
Shavuot (starts evening, May 28): Religiously, this Jewish holiday is about God revealing Jewish law – the Torah – to Moses on Mt. Sinai. Christians usually refer to this story as God giving Moses the 10 commandments. Synagogue readings on this day include the Book the Ruth, and food focuses on dairy. (Think cheese blintzes here.) Like Passover and Sukkot, it’s also an agricultural holiday. Click here for more on that.