May Crowning: What It Is and Why We Do It

It’s our hope and prayer that this May, you’ll celebrate May Crowning in your own parish or home, and have a special encounter with Christ through the Virgin Mary.

At its simplest, May Crowning is a ritual celebrated in the month of May where an image or statue of Mary is crowned with a wreath of flowers and honored as the Queen of Heaven and the Mother of God. But this simple ceremony carries deep meaning for the Catholic faith. 


The Ceremony

Unlike most holidays, May Crowning doesn’t have a set date and can be celebrated at any time during the month of May. Some churches opt for Mother’s Day, while others do it as soon as May arrives. Recently however, Pope Francis chose to add the day to the liturgical calendar, placing it the day after Pentecost. For 2021, that means it falls on May 24th. 

There is also no set ritual, but traditionally May Crownings are celebrated during Mass on that day and after a procession, a crown of flowers and herbs is placed on the head of a statue of Mary. It’s usually followed by prayers and/or hymns centered around Mary. The flowers and herbs are usually replaced throughout the rest of the month to keep them fresh. 


The Meaning of May Crowning

While Mary the Mother of God is revered and celebrated all year long, May is a special month to celebrate the “Queen of Heaven.” 

May has been Mary’s month since the medieval period, when May was considered the end of winter and the start of a new season of growth. It’s a time for new beginnings and the chance to begin with gratitude and devotion. 

There are many reasons she is considered the “Queen of Heaven.” She was a perfect follower of Christ, and so is considered the crown of creation. She is also the Mother of the Son of God, Jesus, who is the King of Israel and the universe. And of course, she is the most important woman of our faith, and our spiritual mother. 

It’s our hope and prayer that this May, you’ll celebrate May Crowning in your own parish or home, and have a special encounter with Christ through the Virgin Mary. 


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