In Ancient Greece, the fifth month of the year was dedicated to the goddess of agriculture, Demeter, and her daughter Persephone. It was said that this was the month that Persephone would return to her mother after being with Hades in the underworld during the winter. The month was eventually named May, supposedly after the Roman Goddess Maia which is the Greek word for midwife, nurse, and mother.
Since ancient times, the meaning and celebration of the month has changed and it has evolved into May Day, which is a holiday celebrated across Europe. Traces of ancient tradition remain, with people picking flowers and using them to make May Day wreaths that are then hung on their doors until they grow dry. These wreaths are supposed to bring people closer to nature. There is also a tradition of fire jumping where women of every age gather the night before May Day. A fire is lit using dry branches that are gathered and then women dance in a large circle around the fire. Folk songs about May and spring are sung and then it is said that young children jump over the fire to keep away winter and disease.