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August: Holidays, fun facts, and everything else you should know

August is upon us! What do we celebrate in August? Why is August a month? See all the notable days of August—from Saint Lawrence’s Day to Left-Handers Day to the Perseid Meteor Shower!

The month of July

August was named to honor the first Roman emperor (and grandnephew of Julius Caesar), Augustus Caesar (63 B.C. – 14 A.D.).

August calendar

• August 5 is a civic holiday in parts of Canada.

• August 9 starts the Islamic New Year, or the First of Muharram, beginning at sundown. Traditionally, it begins at the first sighting of the lunar crescent after the new moon.

• August 10 is Saint Lawrence’s Day. According to folklore, fair weather on Saint Lawrence’s Day presages a fair autumn.

• August 11 marks the end of the Dog Days of Summer, which began July 3.

• August 17 is when the Cat Nights begin, harking back to a rather obscure Irish legend concerning witches; this bit of folklore also led to the idea that a cat has nine lives.

• August 19 brings National Aviation Day, chosen for the birthday of Orville Wright who piloted the first recorded flight of a powered heavier-than-air machine in 1903.

• August 24 is Saint Bartholomew Day.

• August 26 is Women’s Equality Day, which celebrates the 1920 ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment and, with it, women’s right to vote in the United States.

August quiz

Which branch of the U.S. military was formed during the month of August?

A. Air Force

B. Army

C. Coast Guard

D. Marines

E. National Guard

F. Navy

G. Space Force

“Just for Fun” Days

• August 1-7 is International Clown Week.

• August 3 is National Watermelon Day.

• August 8 is “National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbors’ Porch Day.”

• August 10 is National S’mores Day.

• August 12 is Vinyl Record Day.

• August 13 is International Left-Handers Day.

•August 17 is International Geocaching Day and World Honeybee Day.

•August 25 is Kiss-and-Make-Up Day.

August astronomy

August’s full moon, the full Sturgeon Moon, reaches peak illumination in the morning hours of Sunday, August 22. For the best view of the full moon, look skyward on the night of the August 21.

Also, August is a wonderful month for stargazing. It’s the month of the Perseid meteor shower, which peaks between August 11 and August 13. This year, the Perseids reach their peak just a few days after the new moon on August 8, which means that the moon’s usual brightness won’t wash out too many of the “falling stars!”

August moon phases are as follows:

• New Moon: August 8 at 9:50 a.m. EDT

• First Quarter: August 15 at 11:21 a.m. EDT

• Full Moon: August 22 at 8:02 a.m. EDT

• Last Quarter: August 30 at 3:15 a.m. EDT

August birth flowers

August’s birth flowers are the gladiolus and the poppy.

The gladiolus symbolizes strength of character, sincerity, and generosity while the poppy symbolizes eternal sleep, oblivion, and imagination.

August’s birthstone

August’s primary birthstone is peridot, which is said to symbolize strength and healing power, protecting its wearer from nightmares and evil, ensuring harmony and happiness. Babies born in August are lucky to be guarded by peridot’s good fortune.

The peridot is the rare gem-quality form of the mineral olivine that appears in various shades of green, sometimes with a brown or yellow tinge. Called “evening emerald,” the peridot was often mistaken for that other gem. Peridots are formed deep inside the earth’s mantle and are brought to the surface by volcanoes. In Hawaii, peridots symbolize the tears of Pele, the volcano goddess of fire who controls the flow of lava.

A previous birthstone for this month was sardonyx, which is characterized by alternating bands of sard and onyx, both forms of chalcedony. Although it can appear in several colors, it is usually reddish and white. It is thought to bring courage, happiness, and eloquence.

Legend says that Queen Elizabeth I once gave the Earl of Essex a ring made of sardonyx, pledging her aid if he was ever in need. Later on, when accused of treason and scheduled for execution, he tried to send the ring to her but an enemy intercepted it. The queen learned of his plea only years later, after he had been beheaded.

Gardening in August

What’s in season in August? In much of the country, it’s peak time for picking: summer squash/zucchini, cantaloupe and watermelon, corn, eggplant, peaches, tomatoes, bell peppers and jalapeno peppers, and cucumbers.

Also, now is the time to start planting your fall bulbs!

August astrology

With a new moon in the Leo’s sign on August 8, you’re definitely feeling on top of the world as the month begins. You know that life is brimming with possibilities and that you are the writer of every chapter in your life story. Are you going to make this one as exciting as can be? That all depends on what you want to do next and how you want to express your creative, vibrant self. If you’ve been thinking up some big, unique plans, then do it. Now is your time to say “yes” to life!

Any chaos you’ve been experiencing professionally is likely to calm down after August 19 when Uranus, the planet of sudden events, will turn retrograde at the top of your chart. This movement allows you time to process any and all of the fast-paced changes that have unfolded in your career lately.

A full moon in your partnership sector on August 22 will bring an emotional turning point in a relationship. It’s the type of lunar event where you’ll realize you’re better off without someone—or that you couldn’t possibly live your life without them in it.

Key themes for Leo will be: new starts, clean slates, birthdays, celebrations, career chaos, relationship transitions, emotional partnerships, commitment, and breakups.

Meanwhile, Virgos may experience passionate, romantic feelings for someone starting to creep into their heart space at the new moon on August 8. However, as this lunation occurs in your 12th House of Privacy and Vulnerability, you might feel too insecure to express these sentiments to that special someone—at least for now.

Your mind will be at its analytical best from August 11 to August 30 as your ruler, clever Mercury, travels through your sign. This will be the perfect time to make any significant decisions that require a thorough fact check or a list of the pros and cons. You can also do quite well in any negotiations at this time.

Financial prospects also look incredible this month. Venus enters your earned income sector on August 16 and will stimulate cash flow towards you. This receptive energy is best harnessed through your own self-confidence. In addition to that, any collaborations with others during this time will likely improve your finances. The full moon on August 22 could bring a job transition—but it is likely to benefit you. Don’t be afraid to explore your career and financial options!

Key themes for Virgo will include: hidden love, financial boosts, partnership money, financial harmony, new job, intellectual prowess, analytical plans, and mental acuity.

Quiz answer

C., Coast Guard. The Coast Guard’s official history began August 4, 1790 when President George Washington signed the Tariff Act that authorized the construction of 10 vessels, referred to as “cutters,” to enforce federal tariff and trade laws and to prevent smuggling.

The Air Force is the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of 1947.

The U.S. Army was founded June 14, 1775, when the Continental Congress authorized enlistment of riflemen to serve the United Colonies,” for one year.

The Marine Corps was founded November 10, 1775 to serve as an infantry unit aboard naval vessels and was responsible for the security of the ship and its crew by conducting offensive and defensive combat during boarding actions and defending the ship’s officers from mutiny.

The National Guard of the United States, formed December 13, 1636, is a joint activity of the United States Department of Defense composed of reserve components of the United States Army and the United States Air Force: the Army National Guard of the United States for the Army and the Air National Guard of the United States for the Air Force. It is the oldest component of the Armed Forces of the United States.

The United States Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, which the Continental Congress established on October 13, 1775. Since 1972, each CNO has encouraged a Navy-wide celebration of this occasion “to enhance a greater appreciation of our Navy heritage, and to provide a positive influence toward pride and professionalism in the naval service.”

Known as the most recent branch of the U.S. military to be formed, President Donald J. Trump signed into law on December 20, 2019 legislation creating the first new armed service since 1947, the U.S. Space Force. The direct antecedent of the Space Force, Air Force Space Command, was formed September 1, 1982 with responsibility for space warfare operations.

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