By Cathy Johnson
There have been several articles written here about the various months of the year. Not all of the months have been covered, but I realized that August has been sorely neglected. Why, I wondered. What is it about August that was so unremarkable that it hadn’t been examined in detail?
Although August doesn’t mark the beginning or end of a season per se, in many states, it does mark the start of the school year for children in elementary and high school as well as those attending colleges and universities. And for that, August is remarkable.
As for the rest of it, August has a plethora of special days and observances. We have already missed National Mustard Day, International Lefthanders Day, National Honey Bee Day, National Milkshake Day, National Watermelon Day, National White Wine Day, National Underwear Day, International Cat Day, National S’More Day, World Elephant Day, National Creamsicle Day, National Lemon Meringue Pie Day, National Rum Day, National Vanilla Custard Day, National Potato Day, National Eat a Peach Day, and National Waffle Day. But there’s still time to celebrate National Banana Split Day and National Whiskey Sour Day (8/25), Women’s Equality Day (8/26), National Banana Lovers Day and National Pots de Crème Day (8/27), National Cherry Turnover Day (8/28), National Lemon Juice Day and National Chop Suey Day (8/29), and National Trail Mix Day (8/31). That should take care of the menu planning.
August is the eighth month of the year, but it wasn’t always. Originally named Sextillis, it was the sixth month in the Roman calendar under Romulus. March was the first month of the year. It became the eighth month when the emperor added January and February to the calendar. It was renamed after the emperor Augustus who had several important military triumphs in that month, including the conquest of Egypt.
August birthstones are the peridot, sardonyx and spinel, and its flower is the gladiolus or poppy, meaning beauty, strength of character, love, marriage and family.
For those of us in the northern hemisphere, August is usually a month where the weather is solidly summerlike. For our friends in the southern hemisphere, August is like our February. Enough said.
August marks events like the annual meteor showers, county fairs, the beginnings of harvesting of summer crops and the bounty at local farmers markets and roadside stands, family vacations, and the tradition of back-to-school shopping. Its 31 days are all valued because when August ends, fall truly begins.
August is also an adjective in English, pronounced au-GUST, and meaning “marked by majestic dignity or grandeur,” or “respected and impressive.” One can be in august company, have august lineage, or perhaps live in an august mansion.
For those interested in more information on August, you can do as I did, and consult Wikipedia or just Google it on the internet. Enjoy what’s left of August, because we all know what comes after.