Special Days and Observances in May

Three days crossed off on wall calendar, close-up

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In May, nicer weather brings people out to participate in walkathons and events that focus on health awareness and healthy living. May is also the time that moms around the world get showered with love for Mother's Day. But, without question, the most popular holiday in May in the U.S. is Memorial Day, the national holiday that is also known as the unofficial start to summer. But, what about the lesser-known, super interesting observances that might tickle your fancy or delight your children?

There are month-long observances like National Photo Month, week-long observances like Youth Traffic Safety Month, and the Star Wars "May the Fourth" holiday revered by sci-fi fans the world over. If you're looking for a quirky way to spend a day in May, you have plenty of special days to choose from.

  • 01 of 10

    National Photo Month

    Person looking at a photograph

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    The earliest known surviving photograph dates back to the mid-1820s. It shows the view from a window at a wealthy estate in the Burgundy region of France. National Photo Month was created as a way to celebrate the invention of the camera. A great way to celebrate this day is to dig up old photographs, take a photography course, or take a look at some of the most iconic images ever snapped. 

  • 02 of 10

    Sun Day

    Wind turbines and solar panels

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    Some may remember the 1973 oil embargo, others may not have even been born yet, but a few years later on May 3 in 1978, then U.S. President Jimmy Carter declared the day "Sun Day" in honor of the economic importance of solar power. The sun "can't be embargoed by any foreign nation," as stated by actor Robert Redford at the United Nations when the observance day was created.

    Sun worshippers if you like to find any excuse to appreciate the day, here you go. Just don't forget your sunscreen.

  • 03 of 10

    Intergalactic Star Wars Day (May the Fourth Be With You Day)

    Star Wars

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    May the Fourth is the day to celebrate Star Wars and everything the epic space odyssey has given its fans like lightsabers, Wookies, the Millenium Falcon, and so much more. The day stems from the popular movie expression, "May the force be with you." This is the perfect day to dress up as your favorite character from one of the nine (and counting) Star Wars films or rope in a friend who hasn't seen the movie and fire up some freshly popped popcorn.

  • 04 of 10

    Limerick Day

    Boys doing schoolwork together

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    May 12 is the day to celebrate one of the most kid-friendly forms of poetry ever—the limerick. It was popularized by Edward Lear in his first "Book of Nonsense" in 1846. Most are written to be comical or in Lear's case, it was considered "nonsensical literature." Regardless, children love hearing these five-lined wonders and crafting them, too.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    World Telecommunications Day (Information Society Day)

    Teenage girls using cell phones

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    If your mobile phone could have its special day, then May 17 is the day to set it on a pedestal (not just for charging) and give it its due. World Telecommunications Day was renamed in 2005 as World Information Society Day to recognize the prominence of the internet in everyday life since it encompasses telecommunications, too. To mark the day, maybe it's time for a new case, screen protector, or phone?

  • 06 of 10

    Food Allergy Awareness Week

    Allergenic foods in bowls


    The third week of May is Food Allergy Awareness Week. Food allergy awareness has become important in today's world, it can mean life or death for another human being—there are about 15 million people in the U.S. with food allergies. Eight major food allergens—milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and crustacean shellfish—are responsible for most of the serious food allergy reactions in the United States. To celebrate the week, pick a day and try to cook allergen-free. It's hard. Recognize what others around you might be going through.

    Also, each year, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America declares May to be National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month since it's a peak season for asthma and allergy sufferers.

  • 07 of 10

    International Museum Day

    Dinosaur called Sue on exhibit

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    The objective of International Museum Day is to spread the word that museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures, and the development of mutual understanding, cooperation, and peace among peoples. This special day is on May 18 each year. To mark the day, more than 36,000 museums in more than 150 countries participate in events or activities for museum-goers. 

  • 08 of 10

    World Turtle Day

    Russian Tortoise Goes on a Stroll

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    Every year since 2000, May 23 is World Turtle Day to bring awareness to turtles and tortoises around the world that need human help to stay alive and prosper. To celebrate the day, you can dress up as a turtle, wear green, or volunteer in a turtle or reptile rescue. Schools around the world plan craft projects for youngsters to teach them about the plight of the turtle.

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  • 09 of 10

    Geek Pride Day

    Boy wearing goggles and pointing his finger

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    It used to be that being called a geek or a nerd was a bad thing. Now, geeks are lauded. A geek can run the gamut from Star Wars fans and video gamers to super brainy physics majors and fantasy fiction fanatics—Game of Thrones, anyone? To mark the day, queue up the Lord of the Rings trilogy, play Dungeons and Dragons with friends or attend a Geek Pride Day event around the world. Every year, more events are developed to remind the world of one big thing: geeks are here to stay.

  • 10 of 10

    Global Youth Traffic Safety Month

    Crossing Guard Helping Kids Cross Safely

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    Traffic accidents remain the No. 1 cause of death among American teenagers. Distracted driving, drunk driving or drugged driving, and sleep deprivation are some of the major reasons that these accidents occur. It is the focus of this awareness campaign to prevent injuries and save lives by training teens and parents to be safer drivers. This is the day to volunteer as a street crossing guard. Or, you can encourage your friends to remember to wear helmets while on a bike and to stop texting while driving or while walking down the street.