August is the month in which you reap what you’ve sown, quite literally because this is the month in which summer vegetables are ready to be harvested. It is also a great time of year in the Southern Hemisphere because the weather there is like the month of February in the Northern Hemisphere – just now warming into spring. The month originally went by the name Sextilis, meaning sixth, and was the sixth month in the Roman calendar until the months January and February were added to the calendar. August has also had the number of its days changed numerous times – from 30 days in the original 10-month Roman calendar; to 29 days when Pompilius added January and February to the calendar; then increased to 31 days during the time of Julius Caesar. Here are some interesting facts about the month of August:
- During a standard year, there is no other month that begins on the same day of the week as August. In a leap year, however, August begins on the same day of the week as February.
- August, as do all the other months, has two birth flowers: the gladiolus, which represents generosity, the strength of character, and deep sincerity; and the deep, crimson poppy, which represents imagination, eternal sleep, and oblivion!
- Unlike all the other months, however, August has only one birthstone: the peridot. One of the lesser-known gems, peridots come in shades from grass green to an earthy, olive hue. It is a very unique gem and really quite rare, as they are found in only two very different sources. They can be formed deep in the earth and expelled to the surface along with lava and can be found in meteorites. They are said to have healing powers and can protect the bearer from evil.
- On August 24, 79 A.D., Mount Vesuvius erupted near the city of Pompeii. Ash, smoke, and pumice rained down on the citizens of Pompeii, followed by flowing, molten lava that buried the city and residents 7 feet deep.
- August is a relatively common name for boys in Sweden. In 2014, it was the 55th most common name for newborn baby boys, but only 22 percent of Swedish boys named August were actually born in August!
- The month of Sextilis was changed to the month of August and named after August Caesar, the grandnephew of Julius Caesar. Born Gaius Julius Caesar Octavius, Augustus worked with Mark Anthony to find and defeat those who assassinated Julius Caesar, which was no easy feat. He later defeated Mark Anthony and Cleopatra to gain control of the empire and was named the emperor of Rome in 27 B.C. Under Augustus’s lead, Rome began to move back toward being a free republic.
- Last, but not least, August is also derived from the word “Aguste,” a type of circus clown who usually wears battered, ordinary clothes and is habitually awkward or unlucky.
May your August be filled with favorable omens and devoid of unlucky circus clowns!
By Diana Blidy