It is accounted unlucky to be married in May. We seem to have got the superstition from the Romans. Ovid says in his Fasti, lib v.:--
"Nec vidum taedis eadem, nec virginis apta
Tempora. Quae nupsit, non diuturna fuit.
Hac quoque de causa (si te proverbia tangunt),
Mense malas Maio nubere vulgas ait."
But there is evidence of heresy during the long centuries of British history, and specified dates in May are quoted as good for marriages.
In the Roman Calendar, so often quoted, several days are marked as unfit for marriages: "Nuptiae non fiunt," ie. "Feb. 11, June 2, Nov. 2, Dec. 1." On the 16th of September, it is noted, "Tobiae sacrum. Nuptiarum Ceremoniae a Nuptiis deductae, videlicet de Ense, de Pisce, de Pompa, et de Pedibus lavandis." On the 24th of January, the Vigil of St Paul's Day, there is this singular restriction, "Viri cum Uxoribus non cubant."
In a most curious old Almanac for the year 1559, "by Lewes Vaughan, made for the merydian of Gloucestre," are noted as follow: "The tymes of Weddinges when it begynneth and endeth." "Jan. 14, Weding begin. Jan. 21, Weddinge goeth out. April 3, Wedding be. April 29, Wedding goeth out. May 22, Wedding begin." And in another Almanac for 1655, by Andrew Waterman, mariner, we have pointed out to us, in the last page, the following days as "good to marry, or contract a wife (for then women will be fond and loving), viz., January 2, 4, 11, 19, and 21. Feb. 1, 3, 10, 19, 21. M arch 3, 5, 12, 20, 23. April 2, 4, 12, 20, and 22. May, 2, 4, 12, 20, 23. June 1, 3, 11, 19, 21. July 1, 3, 12, 19, 21, 31. August 2, 11, 18, 20, 30. Sept. 1, 9, 16, 18. 28. Oct. 1, 8, 15, 17, 27, 29. Nov. 5, 11, 13, 22, 25. Dec. 1, 8, 10, 19, 23, 29."
It is to be feared, however, that British women will not listen to the counsels of Mr Waterman. They have decided that May is a bad month to marry in, and they will not forego their opinions. Of course, the superstition itself is sheer nonsense; there is not an atom of evidence to prove that it is different from any other month as being malevolent towards matrimony. The one reason why the superstition has held its course almost unbroken is that women would abstain from marriage eleven months out of the twelve if tradition said the eleven were ill-starred. I have never met a man who did not smile at the notion. But once set a train of superstitious thought agoing as to fate and fortune in marriage, and women will accept it whole-heartedly. Perhaps the number of unhappy marriages is a silent factor in the game.