Written by: Diana Blidy

During the mellow month of September, we say goodbye to summer and welcome fall. The name “September” derives from the Latin root “Septem,” meaning seven because this month had originally been the seventh month in the early Roman calendar. We think of September as the month of apples, and apple-picking time becomes a common weekend pastime. September is also the time of year in which we celebrate the beginning of fall. This year’s autumnal equinox will occur at 12:21 PDT on Wednesday, September 22. Here are some other interesting facts about the month of September:

  • September’s birth flowers are the aster and the morning glory. The aster signifies powerful love, and the China aster expresses variety or afterthought in the language of flowers. The morning glory symbolizes affection and can also mean coquetry or affectionate bonds in the language of flowers.
  • Sapphire, the birthstone of this month, was once thought to guard against evil and poisoning. The stone was associated with divine wisdom and protection, purity, truth, trust, and loyalty. Some people believed that if sapphires were placed in a jar with a snake, the snake would die.
  • The harvest moon, the full moon nearest to the autumnal equinox, reaches peak illumination on Monday, September 20 at 4:54 p.m. PDT.
  • Labor Day is the most well-known holiday in September. It is observed every year on the first Monday in September.
  • There are several important religious holidays observed in September. The Christian holiday of St. Matthew’s Day is one, as is the Muslim holiday, Arba’een. Two Jewish holidays this month are Rosh Hashanah, which marks the beginning of a new year, and Yom Kippur, which is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.
  • September 11 is Patriot Day in the United States and is held in honor and remembrance of those who died in the 9/11 attacks in 2001. This year marks the 20th anniversary of September 11.
  • On September 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy went to Rice University in Houston, Texas, to make a speech justifying his proposed $5.4 billion space program. He had asked Congress the previous year to fund a massive project to put a man on the moon and bring him home safely before the end of the decade. The plan included establishing a manned spacecraft center in Houston, on land made available by Rice University. In football, the University of Texas was king, although Rice played Texas every year. Kennedy challenged those in the stands that day at Rice Stadium to think big. His famous speech included, “Why the moon? Why choose this as our goal? Why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic?” Then he added one additional comment, “Why does Rice play Texas?” which drew a huge laugh and added a touch of humor and humility to his otherwise soaring rhetoric. Then he added his now-famous words, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” Kennedy got his wish, although he didn’t live to see Armstrong’s 1969 moonwalk. Also, three years after the speech, Rice beat Texas. It would be another 28 years before that happened again.

May your September be mellow and mild, and may you have an opportunity to enjoy a crisp apple, an apple strudel, or a slice of “Mom’s” good ole apple pie this month as we fall into fall!