Tag Archives: Gregorian calendar

Welcome to December

Night town with the Christmas lighting, Harrogate, North Yorkshire
George Hodan, publicdomainpictures.net

December is the 12th month on the Gregorian calendar. The name derives from the Latin word decem, which means ten. Originally December was the tenth month in an older calendar as it started in March. Apparently the winter days that followed December were not included in a month until much later when January and February were added. December retained its name though. Anglo-Saxons used the term Yule for December-January, but that now that has largely come to mean December and the Christmas season.

December has the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the summer solstice in the Southern. Winter traditionally begins on the astronomical calendar around 21 December or the date of the actual solstice.  The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year and depending on how far north you live, sunlight may only be for a few hours on that day.  The symbols for December are the narcissus flower and turquoise, zircon and tanzanite as the birthstones.

Most Christians celebrate Advent in preparation for the celebration of Christmas on 25 December. Jews celebrate Chanukah/Hanukkah, the 8-day Festival of Lights in December as well. Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26-January 1.


Welcome to October

Photo:David Wagner(publicdomainpictures.net)

October is the 10th month on the Gregorian and Julian calendars. Under the old Roman calendar this was the eighth month and retained its name. October in the Northern Hemisphere begins the full transition to Autumn while in the Southern Hemisphere it is Spring.

Autumn harvests are underway this month with apples, artichokes, cranberries, pears, and pumpkins becoming widely available in many areas. Pumpkins are important this time of year as decorations and the source for pumpkin pie and delicious roasted pumpkin seeds. Octoberfest is a major event in Munich, Germany but has spread into Europe, the United States and South America. It began in 1810 to honor a Bavarian royal wedding and now is in many places like a carnival with rides, lots of German themed food and of course beer. Beer of all kinds, especially craft beers find their ways to such events to be judged. Oktoberfest usually goes from mid-September to October (it used to end on the first Sunday in October) but it usually goes on later these days. One figure estimates the consumption of beer to be around 1.85 million gallons (7 million liters) of beer. Now that is a lot of beer!

Daylight Savings Time comes to an end in Australia and Europe this month. In the United States, that will occur for the last time on the first Sunday in November. Beginning next spring, the United States will stay on permanent daylight savings time year-round from that time on to avoid the switching back and forth. This was done once before many years ago to conserve energy. It was dropped when parents and others complained that year-round daylight savings time means that in some months, you have darkness when kids are going to school.

Of course, the big event in October is Halloween or more properly All Hallows Eve on October 31. What used to be a day to prepare for the feast of All Saints Day now has morphed into an event primarily for children to put on masks and ask neighbors for a treat. Haunted House exhibits are open, hayrides through a haunted landscape, and of course scary movies to watch. We get the obligatory Halloween themed commercials and lots of scary themed promos. Many parents opt to have simpler old fashioned celebration with friends and children assembling for food, entertainment, and of course hearing very spooky stories.

 

Welcome to August

Medieval illustration of men harvesting wheat with reaping-hooks
Circa 1310
Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

August is the eight month on the Gregorian and Julian calendars. One the old Roman calendar this was the sixth month called Sextilis since that calendar start in March. It is named for the Roman emperor Augustus and this month was chosen as many important battles he won were done during this month. It is the last full month of summer in the Northern Hemisphere but in the southern the equivalent of February. In Europe, it is often the month where many workers take vacations.

August in the Northern Hemisphere is also when the first harvest and harvest festivals begin. The dog days of summer end officially on August 11. The Perseid Meteor shower which began in July continues to August 24. Usually the best viewing days are between August 9-13th. The August full moon is sometimes called Sturgeon Moon but since harvesting begins in the Northern Hemisphere it has also called Grain Moon, Fruit Moon, and Barley Moon.. For the people that live in the town of Ny-Ålesund in Norway, August is very important. As the northernmost town in the world, the summer has been one long day. The sun has been staying above the horizon since April and finally during August Polar Day occurs. That often occurs on August 24 though it can vary year to year. Tourists often visit between May-August. The sun does not rise between late October to mid-February.

The symbols for August are:

  • Gladiolus(Gladiolus imbricatus)
    Photo: Christer Johansson(via Wikipedia)

    Birthstores: peridot, sardonyx, and spined.

  • Flowers: Gladiolus or Poppy

Welcome to June

June by Leandro Bassono (1557-1622)
Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

June is the sixth month on the Gregorian calendar. It is named for the Roman god Juno. Juno was the equivalent of the Greek god Hera, though with a few differences. Like Hera, Juno was the wife and sister of Jupiter (the Roman version of Zeus, king of the gods). Juno was the protector of the nation and watched over women. On the old Roman calendar, June was usually the fourth month as their new year started in March. June has 30 days.

June is also the month that has the most sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere. The summer solstice (winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere) takes place during the month. It is a month of celebrations and weddings are very popular during this month. During Roman times getting married during the month of June was considered lucky and has become traditional since then as the month for preferred weddings.

The June symbols are pearl, alexandrite and moonstone for the birthstones, with the rose and honeysuckle for the flowers. Although officially summer does not begin until the solstice, for commercial and agricultural purposes summer begins when the month begins.

 

Welcome to May

May, from the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (1412-1416)
Limbourg brothers (fl. 1402–1416)
Public Domain (Wikimedia Commons)

May is the fifth month on the current Gregorian and the old Julian calendar. It is named for the Greek goddess Maia. On the old Roman calendar, this was the third month. May has 31 days. The full moon in May is sometimes called the Flower Moon since many flowers bloom during this month.

May is commonly associated with spring in the Northern Hemisphere but autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. Usually, it is also the time that plants begin to grow. It is a time for many festivals and celebrations as well. The ancient Romans had several of them during May and many Europeans today have events during the month. Late May is often considered the beginnings of the summer season in many places.

The May symbols are the emerald (birthstone), along with Lilly of the Valley and Hawthorn as the birth flowers.

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Welcome to April

April, Brevarium Grimani, fol. 5v (Flemish)
circa 1510
Public Domain via Wikipedia Commons

April is the fourth month on the current Gregorian but the fifth month on the old Julian calendar. In the Northern Hemisphere, April is the beginning of spring in many places. In the Southern Hemisphere, April is the equivalent of October. The name April comes from the Latin word Aprilis and was the second month on the old Roman calendar that used to begin in March.

April was seen as a month of both sun and growth by the Romans, which may be how they came up with the name Aprilis. There may be some connection to the Greek goddess Aphrodite as well. Whatever its origin, the name stuck and has come to us as April. With winter over for most in the Northern Hemisphere, it was a time of joy. It started getting warmer, the cold days of rain, snow, and frost receded and replaced by much nicer days.

There are countless festivities in April to celebrate this time of year to be chronicled here. April Fools Day (1 April) is celebrated around the world as a day of playing pranks. It possibly goes back to a time when people, happy to see winter come to an end, would play joyful pranks on their family and friends. Whatever its source, it has become ingrained into culture and tradition. Easter and Passover are often celebrated in April as well.

For those interested, the birthstone for April is the diamond and the birth flowers are the daisy and sweet pea.

August Facts and Information

Poppy Field
Friederike Hiepko
Publicdomainpictures.net

August is the eighth month in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars and is one of the seven months that has thirty-one days. One the old Roman calendar it was the sixth month and originally called Sextilis (on that calendar March was the first month of the new year). By the time of Julius Caesar, January and February had been added to the calendar. Caesar added two days when he created the Julian calendar in 46 BC giving it the modern length of thirty-one days. It was renamed in 8 BC to honor the Emperor Augustus. August also entered the vocabulary as well. To call someone august meant they were distinguished or renowned. The same would apply if you applied it to an institution or government body as well.

August in the northern hemisphere is a time when the bounty of the season is often at its fullest (below the equator it is still winter). The birthstones are peridot and onyx, and the birth flower the poppy. For those who like to watch the stars, the Perseid meteor shower which usually occurs between July 17 and August 24. They are often the most visible between August 9 to August 13. The best time to view is usually the pre-dawn hours though you can sometimes see them earlier as well. Another fun fact to know is the Dog Days of Summer (which began on July 3) comes to an end on August 11.

Also, in August we notice, slowly at first, that the days are starting to get a little shorter. At the beginning of the month, you can have up to 14 hours of daylight. By August 31 though, it has shrunk to 13 hours. The sunset that occurred perhaps at 8:17 pm on the first day of August is now just under 7:40 am at the end. Conversely sunrise is getting later resulting in darker early mornings unlike in June or July.

Sources:

  1. August Is the Eighth Month of the Year (timeanddate.com)
  2. The Month Of August 2021: Holidays, Fun Facts, And More (The Old Farmer’s Almanac)
  3. Perseids (NASA)

 

Welcome To July

Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry-July
Limbourg Brothers (1385 – 1416)
Public Domain US/Wikimedia

July is the seventh month on both the Gregorian and Julian calendars. On the old Roman calendar, it was the fifth month since the new year did not start till March. It was called Quintillis until it was renamed July in honor of Julius Caesar. This occurred in 45 BC when the Julian calendar was adopted and January became the first month of the new year. In the Northern Hemisphere it is considered one of the warmest months of the year. Conversely it is considered one of the coldest months in the Southern Hemisphere where it is winter. The symbols for July are the ruby (birthstone) and Larkspur or Water Lilly for the flower.

Baker’s Larkspur
Kate Symonds/USFWS
Public Domain

Welcome to June

June by Leandro Bassono (1557-1622)
Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

June is the sixth month on the Gregorian calendar. It is named for the Roman god Juno. Juno was the equivalent of the Greek god Hera, though with a few differences. Like Hera, Juno was the wife and sister of Jupiter (the Roman version of Zeus, king of the gods). Juno was the protector of the nation and watched over women. On the old Roman calendar, June was usually the fourth month as their new year started in March. June has 30 days.

June is also the month that has the most sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere. The summer solstice (winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere) takes place during the month. It is a month of celebrations and weddings are very popular during this month. During Roman times getting married during the month of June was considered lucky and has become traditional since then as the month for preferred weddings.

The June symbols are pearl, alexandrite and moonstone for the birthstones, with the rose and honeysuckle for the flowers. Although officially summer does not begin until the solstice, for commercial and agricultural purposes summer begins when the month begins.

 

Welcome to May

May, from the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (1412-1416)
Limbourg brothers (fl. 1402–1416)
Public Domain (Wikimedia Commons)

May is the fifth month on the current Gregorian and the old Julian calendar. It is named for the Greek goddess Maia. On the old Roman calendar, this was the third month. May has 31 days. The full moon in May is sometimes called the Flower Moon since many flowers bloom during this month.

May is commonly associated with spring in the Northern Hemisphere but autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. Usually, it is also the time that plants begin to grow. It is a time for many festivals and celebrations as well. The ancient Romans had several of them during May and many Europeans today have events during the month. Late May is often considered the beginnings of the summer season in many places.

The May symbols are the emerald (birthstone), along with Lilly of the Valley and Hawthorn as the birth flowers.

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