The month of May, according to the Gregorian calendar, is named after Maia, the goddess of springtime and growth.

Historically, the gentle warmth of the month caused flowers to blossom, crops to sprout, and people to dance.

Children made garlands from greenery and participated in joyful celebrations on the first day of May.

These early may celebration traditions declined in popularity some 2,000 years ago, but the spirit of May-time merriment remains to this day.

Much poetry has been dedicated to this most popular month.

John Burroughs wrote: “When purple finches sing and soar, With vernal gladness running o’er, When joys like these salute the sense, Then waiting long hath recompense, And all the world is glad with May.”

Meanwhile author Tam Mossman said:”Horticulturally, the month of May is opening night, Homecoming, and Graduation Day all rolled into one.”

Even the great bard, William Shakespeare was a great fan, writing: “As full of spirit as the month of May, and as gorgeous as the sun in Midsummer.”

It is certainly a most special time of year.

Perhaps it is May which has made people feel so much more optimistic about the future.

Certainly we can look forward to the rest of the year with cautious optimism following the nightmare of last year.