During the month of October, autumn comes into full swing. In the ancient Roman calendar, October was the name of the eighth month of the year. Its name comes from “octo,” the Latin word for “eight.” When the Romans converted to a 12-month calendar, they tried to rename this month after various Roman emperors, but the name October stuck. In Old England, the month was called “Winmonath,” meaning “wine month,” for this was the time of year when wine was made. The English also called October “Winterfylleth” or “winter full moon.” They considered this full moon to be the start of winter. Here are some other interesting facts about October:

  • October’s full moon is known as the Hunter’s Moon and will arrive on Wednesday, October 20. Just like September’s Harvest Moon, the Hunter’s Moon is closely tied to the autumnal equinox.
  • The opal, October’s birthstone, symbolizes faithfulness and confidence. Opal, a type of quartz made up of tiny spheres of amorphous hydrated silica that gives it its rainbow shimmer, is prone to cracking or crazing because of its high water content, making it sensitive to high temperatures. Australian aboriginal tribes believed that opals were the Creator’s footsteps on Earth.
  • The cosmos and the calendula (or Marigold) are the flowers most associated with the month of October. Cosmos are a symbol of joy in life and love and of peace. The calendula represents winning grace, and the marigold symbolizes grief over a loved one. It may surprise you to think of such a neon, bright, orange or yellow flower being associated with the passing of a loved one, but they are meant to represent the sunrays or light paths that guide the dearly departed, and the hues represent the beauty and warmth of the rising sun, symbolizing its power to resurrect.
  • Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in the month of October. It is a bit more lowkey than our American version. It lines up with America’s Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which is also held on the second Monday in October. Unlike in the U.S., there is not a post-Thanksgiving shopping craze like Black Friday or Cyber Monday!
  • October 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus landed on a small island in the Bahamas, convinced he’d reached Asia. Instead, he found a new land. Today, Columbus Day is celebrated in conjunction with Indigenous Peoples’ Day, when we honor the history and cultures of indigenous people native to what is today the United States.
  • All Hallows’ Eve, or Halloween, is celebrated on the evening before the Christian holy day, All Hallows’ Day, or All Saints’ Day (November 1). Therefore, Halloween is celebrated on October 31. Halloween’s origin is traced to the ancient Gaelic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in), the celebration of the end of harvest time and the beginning of the dark half of the year, when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead were thought to be the thinnest and one could communicate with the dead and divine the future. However, Halloween was once known as “Nutcracker Night” in England, a time when families celebrated the harvest and would sit around a hearth drinking cider and enjoying nuts and apples.
  • Throughout the month, the leaves on trees change color as the foliage season unfurls. Fall’s vivid colors on the leaves are actually hidden underneath the summer’s green. With shortened days, the lack of sunlight causes the green to disappear as the chlorophyll breaks down and the hidden pigments of color begin to emerge in full fall splendor. Happy fall y’all and happy Halloween. By Diana Blidy Information provided by Patsy Zima

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