The Queen of May | Tomorrow's World

The Queen of May

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Could many professing Christians be worshiping a pagan goddess?

The May 1 holiday of May Day is primarily celebrated in the Northern Hemisphere. Centuries before modern labor leaders set May 1 aside as “International Workers Day”—a multinational “Labor Day” recognized by much of the world outside the United States—millions of professing Christians, particularly Roman Catholics, were celebrating May 1 as a day giving special honor to Jesus’ mother, Mary, lauded by tradition as the Queen of May.

But was there a “Queen of May” before Mary? If so, who was she? And why do we find her festival observed in so many pre-Christian pagan cultures? Is the festival appropriate for Christians?

Ancient Idols

Many ancient cultures celebrated May 1 as the informal start of the summer season. From an astronomical point of view, it is the halfway point between the mid-March spring equinox and the mid-June summer solstice. In the U.S., May Day has not been embraced with as much fervor as in most English-speaking nations of Europe. The Puritans—among the first European settlers in America—disdained the May Day celebration. Given their dislike of revelry and frivolity, this is no surprise when we consider how the holiday is commonly observed.

At, we read that “May Day has a long history and tradition in England, some of which eventually came to America. Children would dance around the Maypole holding onto colorful ribbons. People would ‘bring in the May’ by gathering wildflowers and green branches, weaving of floral hoops and hair garlands, and crowning a May king and queen. Such rites originally may have been intended to ensure fertility for crops and, by extension, for livestock and humans” (November 12, 2021).

An 1850 essay written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, an English poet, critic, and philosopher, speaks to the origin of May Day and the Queen of May. Coleridge states, “The leisure days after seed-time had been chosen by our Saxon ancestors… [to have] conventions of the people… [namely]… the Pagan festival of Whitsuntide….”

The essay goes on to state, “Its [the pagan festival’s] original name is Wittentide, the time of choosing the wits or wise men to the Wittena-gemotte [the assembly of the wise men]. It was consecrated to Hertha, the Goddess of Peace and Fertility…. The vassals met upon the common green around the May-pole, where they elected a village lord, or king, as he was called, who chose his queen” (Essays on His Own Times, p. 137).

Modern Counterfeits

The Bible, too, tells us of a goddess-queen of fertility. We read, “Men of Ephesus, what man is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple guardian of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Zeus?” (Acts 19:35).

Who was Diana of the Ephesians? She is known from antiquity as Artemis Ephesia, an Anatolian fertility goddess. From the distant past to modern times, this goddess of fertility has been worshiped under one name or another. Even among many professing Christians, the desire to glorify a goddess-queen remains; the Roman church praises Jesus’ mother Mary as “Queen of the Apostles” and even “Queen of Heaven.” In ancient Greece, the month of May was dedicated to Artemis, goddess of fertility. Interestingly, in popular Catholic piety today, May is considered to be Mary’s “coronation month”—a time when she receives special adoration.

Based on their pagan roots, the clear answer as to whether one should observe traditional May Day celebrations must be “No!” God has commanded us to instead keep wonderful Holy Days that are relevant to our day and rich in meaning. They are free from syncretism, pagan tradition, and idolatry.

To learn more about the Holy Days that God set apart for His people, request a free copy of The Holy Days: God’s Master Plan along with Satan’s Counterfeit Christianity. Both offer insight and understanding vital to your very life in these last days.


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