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History of the May Crowning

For centuries, the May Crowning has been a beloved tradition in the Catholic Church. This tradition, which dates back to medieval times, honors the Blessed Virgin Mary during the month of May. The May crowning involves the coronation of the Virgin Mary with a crown of flowers. This act symbolized the love and devotion that the faithful have towards the Blessed Mother.

The origins of the May Crowning can be traced back to the springtime festivals that were common in Europe during the Middle Ages. These festivals were often dedicated to the goddess of fertility, and included activities such as dancing, singing, and flower-gathering. As Christianity spread throughout Europe, many of these festivals were adapted to honor Mary, the Mother of Jesus. This was the time of year when the world began to come alive again after the cold winter months. THe flowers began to bloom and the trees began to bear fruit. It was also believed that the monthly of May was the time when the Virgin Mary was crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth.

The crowning of Mary's head with a crown as iconographical motif can be traced back to the middle of the twelfth century. In these English sculptures but also known in other countries Christ crowns his mother after her assumption into heaven. However, the beginning of the crowning of a Mary sculpture or image is much older, or more precisely we have at least one much older example, that of Pope Gregory III (731-741) who donated a golden diadem to crown a holy image located at St. Peter's, which represents not only Mary but also Christ and other saints.

The custom then spread throughout Europe, and eventually made its way to the Americas with Spanish missionaries. In the United States, the May Crowning became particularly popular during the late 19th and we early 20th centuries. Many Catholic schools and parishes began holding annual May processions, in which children dressed in white and carried flowers to honor Mary. One of the most famous May crownings in America was held at the National SHrine of the Immaculate COnception in Washington D.C. in 1954. The event was attended by over 5000,000 million people including President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It was an important event that marked the growing influence of the Catholic Church in America.

There are many ways in which the May crowning ceremony is conducted. In some traditions, a young girl is chose to represent the Virgin Mary and is crowned with a wreath of flowers. In other traditions, a statue of the Virgin Mary is crowned with a crown of flowers. This ceremony is often accompanied by possessions and the singing of hymns.

The practice of crowning Mary during May was officially approved by Pope Pius XII in 1954. The pope referred to Mary as "queen of May," and encouraged Catholics throughout the world to participate in May Crowning ceremonies.

Today, the May Crowning remains a beloved tradition in many Catholic communities. The May Crowning is an opportunity to create a closer relationship with Mother Mary and offer other devotionals such as the Rosary, the Miraculous Medal novena, and the sacred mass.


- EWTN Global Catholic Network. (n.d.). May devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Retrieved from

- The Catholic Company. (n.d.). The history of the May crowning. Retrieved from

- University of Dayton (n.d.) Retrieved from

- USCCB. (n.d.). May is Mary's month. Retrieved from

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