Rabbit Rabbit – December 2021

Rabbit Rabbit
December 2021

Rabbit, rabbit!

Since at least 1909, a superstition has lived in North American and the United Kingdom that if a person says or repeats the word “rabbit” upon waking up on the first day of the month, good luck will follow for the remainder of that month.

Elements of the tradition exist in the United Kingdom, New England, and even in various First Nation cultures.

While I’m not necessarily endorsing the superstition, it provides a way to look in depth at each month of the year, from history and observances to miscellaneous trivia. The topic this month is December.

History

December is the twelfth and final month of the year, but it used to be the tenth in the old calendar of Romulus. That’s why it has the Latin decem (meaning “ten”) in its name.

Roman observances for December included one of the four Agonalia, particularly in honor of Sol Indiges, on December 11th. This was the same day as Septimontium. Dies natalis (“birthday”) was held at the temple of Tellus on December 13th, Consualia was held on December 15th, Saturnalia was held from December 17th to 23rd, Opiconsivia was held on December 19th, Divalia was held on December 21st, Larentalia was held on December 23rd, and the dies natalis of Sol Invictus was held on December 25th. As usual, these dates do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar.

Anglo-Saxons also referred to December and January as Ġēolamonaþ or Ȝēolamōnaþ, translated to “Yule month”. The Anglo-Saxon scholar Bede explained in his treatise De temporum ratione (The Reckoning of Time) that the entire winter solstice period was known as Ġēola. December later became known as Ǣrra-ġēolamōnaþ and January became known as Æfterra-ġēolamōnaþ, translated as The Preceding Yule and The Following, respectively.

Yule was the festival historically celebrated by the Germanic people, which was connected to the Wild Hunt, the god Odin, and the pagan Anglo-Saxon Mōdraniht. These pagan celebrations were later assimilated by the Christians, transforming the period into Christmastide. Some present-day Christmas customs and traditions such as the Yule log, Yule goat, Yule boar, Yule singing, and others are connected to the pagan traditions. Yule is still celebrated in various forms in Nordic countries, Estonia, and Finland, as well as through modern neopagan movements.

Observances

December is the Month of the Advent of Christ in the Catholic Church. It also includes National Egg Nog Month, National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, National Fruit Cake Month, and National Pear Month. The international stage adds No Gender December, a campaign to educate the public about gender neutrality.

On the astronomical front, December meteor showers include the Andromedids (September 25 to December 6, with a peak around November 9th), the Canis-Minorids (spanning December 4 to December 15, with a peak around December 10th or 11th), the Coma Berenicids (between December 12 and December 23, with a peak around December 16th), the Delta Cancrids (December 14 to February 14, with a main shower from January 1-24 and a peak on January 17th), the Geminids (December 13-14), the Monocerotids (typically December 7-20, with a peak on December 9th), the Phoenicids (spanning November 29 to December 9, and peaking around December 5th), the Quadrantids (which is usually a January shower, but can start in December), the Sigma Hydrids (December 4-15), and the Ursids (December 17-26, with a peaking around December 22nd).

December also contains the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the day with the fewest daylight hours, and the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, the day with the most daylight hours. Both of these, of course, exclude the polar regions.

Trivia

  • December’s birthstones are turquoise (wisdom, tranquility, protection, good fortune, and hope), zircon (wisdom, success, honor and wealth), and tanzanite (wisdom, truth, and dignity).
  • The western zodiac signs of December are Sagittarius (until December 21st) and Capricorn (December 22nd onwards).
  • The month’s birth flower is the narcissus.

Rabbit Rabbit is a project designed to look at each month of the year with respect to history, observances, and more.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Rabbit Rabbit – November 2021

Rabbit Rabbit
November 2021

Rabbit, rabbit!

Since at least 1909, a superstition has lived in North American and the United Kingdom that if a person says or repeats the word “rabbit” upon waking up on the first day of the month, good luck will follow for the remainder of that month.

Elements of the tradition exist in the United Kingdom, New England, and even in various First Nation cultures.

While I’m not necessarily endorsing the superstition, it provides a way to look in depth at each month of the year, from history and observances to miscellaneous trivia. The topic this month is November.

History

November is the eleventh month of the year, but it used to be the ninth in the old calendar of Romulus. That’s where November got its name, stemming from the Latin novem for “nine”.

Roman observances for November included Ludi Plebeii (November 4–17), Epulum Jovis (November 13), and Brumalia (starting on November 24). These dates do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar.

Anglo-Saxons also referred to November as Blōtmōnaþ. This stemmed from the Anglo-Saxon scholar Bede in his treatise De temporum ratione (The Reckoning of Time), in which he stated that “Blod-monath is month of immolations, for it was in this month that the cattle which were to be slaughtered were dedicated to the gods.” An entry in the Menologium seu Calendarium Poeticum, an Anglo-Saxon poem about the months, explains that “this month is called Novembris in Latin, and in our language the month of sacrifice, because our forefathers, when they were heathens, always sacrificed in this month, that is, that they took and devoted to their idols the cattle which they wished to offer.”

In the French Republican Calendar, November fell in the months of Brumaire and Frimaire. Brumaire was the second month of the autumnal quarter (mois d’automne) in that calendar, named after the French word for fog, brume, since it is prevalent during that time. Brumaire spanned October 22-24 to November 20-22. Frimaire was the third month, named for the frimas, the French word for frost. It spanned November 21-23 to December 20-22.

Observances

November is the Month of Holy Souls in Purgatory in the Catholic Church. It also includes Academic Writing Month, Annual Family Reunion Planning Month, Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Movember (the annual growing of mustaches to support men’s health issues), Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month (in the United Kingdom), Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month, and Stomach Cancer Awareness Month.

The United States, specifically, also observes COPD Awareness Month, Epilepsy Awareness Month, Military Family Month, National Adoption Month, National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, National Blog Posting Month, National Critical Infrastructure Protection Month, National Entrepreneurship Month, National Family Caregivers Month, National Bone Marrow Donor Awareness Month, National Diabetes Month, National Homeless Youth Month, National Hospice Month, National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, National Pomegranate Month, and Prematurity Awareness Month.

Of particular import to my family is Native American Heritage Month. This observance aims to provide a platform for Native people in the United States to share their culture, traditions, music, crafts, dance, and ways and concepts of life. It also provides an opportunity to express to their community, city, county, and state officials their concerns and solutions for building bridges of understanding and friendship in their local area. It was declared by President George H. W. Bush on August 3, 1990.

National Novel Writing Month also occurs throughout November. Commonly known as NaNoWriMo, this month offers writers of all experience levels a challenge to write 50,000 words on a single project. A word count of 40,000 officially makes a novel, but 50,000 is the typical minimum. Most novels span 60,000 to 100,000 words, but the 50,000 target provides a good milestone and challenge, especially for those who are not used to writing so many words consistently.

On the astronomical front, November meteor showers include the Andromedids (September 25 to December 6, with a peak around November 9-14), the Leonids (November 15-20, the Alpha Monocerotids (November 15-25, peaking on November 21-22), the Northern Taurids (October 20 to December 10), the Southern Taurids (September 10 to November 20), the Phoenicids (November 29 to December 9, peaking on December 5-6), and the Orionids (spanning late October into November).

Trivia

  • November’s birthstones are topaz (particularly yellow, which symoblizes friendship) and citrine (a variety of quartz that symbolizes prosperity).
  • The western zodiac signs of November are Scorpio (until November 21) and Sagittarius (November 22 onwards).
  • The month’s birth flower is the chrysanthemum.

Rabbit Rabbit is a project designed to look at each month of the year with respect to history, observances, and more.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Rabbit Rabbit – October 2021

Rabbit Rabbit
October 2021

Rabbit, rabbit!

Since at least 1909, a superstition has lived in North American and the United Kingdom that if a person says or repeats the word “rabbit” upon waking up on the first day of the month, good luck will follow for the remainder of that month.

Elements of the tradition exist in the United Kingdom, New England, and even in various First Nation cultures.

While I’m not necessarily endorsing the superstition, it provides a way to look in depth at each month of the year, from history and observances to miscellaneous trivia. The topic this month is October.

History

October is the tenth month of the year, but it used to be the eighth in the old calendar of Romulus.

Roman observances for October include one of three Mundus patet (October 5th), Meditrinalia (October 11th), Augustalia (October 12th), October Horse (October 15th), and Armilustrium (October 19th). None of these correspond to dates on the current Gregorian Calendar.

Anglo-Saxons also referred to October as Ƿinterfylleþ, because at this full moon (fylleþ) winter was supposed to begin.

Observances

October hosts a lot of month-long observances, including Black History Month in the United Kingdom, the Month of the Holy Rosary in the Catholic Church, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Health Literacy Month, International Walk to School Month, Medical Ultrasound Awareness Month, Rett Syndrome Awareness Month, World Blindness Awareness Month, World Menopause Month, and Vegetarian Awareness Month.

The United States, in grand tradition, adds a slew of observances.

In general for the United States, October hosts American Archives Month, National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, National Arts & Humanities Month, National Bullying Prevention Month, National Cyber Security Awareness Month, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Filipino American History Month, Italian-American Heritage and Culture Month, Polish American Heritage Month, and National Work and Family Month.

Then, they add a bunch of health-related observances, including American Pharmacist Month, Dwarfism/Little People/Short Stature/Skeletal Dysplasia Awareness, Eczema Awareness Month, National Dental Hygiene Month, National Healthy Lung Month, National Infertility Awareness Month, Liver Awareness Month, National Lupus Erythematosus Awareness Month, National Physical Therapy Month, National Spina Bifida Awareness Month, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness Month

Oh, we’re not done yet.

They also have a few food-related observances, too: National Pizza Month, National Popcorn Poppin’ Month, National Pork Month, and National Seafood Month.

Finally, because I love it so, the month ends with Halloween. Get spoopy, friends.

Trivia

  • October’s birthstones are tourmaline (a stone of reconciliation, humanity, and grounding) and the opal (a stone of love, passion, desire, and eroticism).
  • The western zodiac signs of October are Libra (until October 22) and Scorpio (October 23 onwards).
  • The month’s birth flower is the calendula.
  • The French have been known to shorten octobre to 8bre for… reasons?

Rabbit Rabbit is a project designed to look at each month of the year with respect to history, observances, and more.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Rabbit Rabbit – September 2021

Rabbit Rabbit
September 2021

Rabbit, rabbit!

Since at least 1909, a superstition has lived in North American and the United Kingdom that if a person says or repeats the word “rabbit” upon waking up on the first day of the month, good luck will follow for the remainder of that month.

Elements of the tradition exist in the United Kingdom, New England, and even in various First Nation cultures.

While I’m not necessarily endorsing the superstition, it provides a way to look in depth at each month of the year, from history and observances to miscellaneous trivia. The topic this month is September.

History

September, deriving from the Latin for “seven”, was originally the seventh month in the original ten-month Roman calendar. When the calendar was reformed to add January and February, September became the ninth month.

September is the beginning of the ecclesiastical year in the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is also the start of the academic year in many countries of the northern hemisphere, marking the season when children return to school after the summer break.

Roman observances for September include the religious festival Ludi Romani, originally celebrated from September 12th to September 14th, but later extended to the window of September 5th to September 19th. In the 1st century BC, an extra day to the month in honor of the deified Julius Caesar on September 4th.

Additionally, Epulum Jovis was held on September 13th, Ludi Triumphales was held from September 18th to 22th, and the Septimontium was celebrated in September (and on December 11th on later calendars). None of the Roman dates correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar.

September was called “harvest month” in Charlemagne’s calendar, and corresponds in part to the Fructidor and the Vendémiaire of the French Republican Calendar. It is called Herbstmonat (harvest month) in Switzerland and Gerstmonath (barley month) among the Anglo-Saxons.

On Usenet, it is said that September 1993 (the Eternal September) never ended. It’s the same month that America Online began offering Usenet access to its many users, a move that overwhelmed the existing culture for online forums. Before then, Usenet was largely restricted to colleges, universities, and other research institutions.

The British Empire adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752. In the British Empire that year, September 2nd was immediately followed by September 14th.

Observances

The September equinox takes place in this month with its associated observances. It is the Autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, and the Vernal equinox in the Southern Hemisphere. On the astrological calendar, September is mostly in the sixth month and the first part of the seventh. That calendar begins at the end of March/Mars/Aries.

September’s observances include Amerindian Heritage Month (in Guyana), Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (in the United Kingdom), Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month, Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month, Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month, and National Suicide Prevention Month.

The United States adds Turkish Heritage Month, Better Breakfast Month, Food Safety Education Month, National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Hydrocephalus Awareness Month, Pain Awareness Month, National Preparedness Month, National Prostate Health Month, National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, and National Yoga Month. The country also adds a ton of food-based tributes, including National Bourbon Heritage Month, California Wine Month, National Chicken Month, National Honey Month, National Mushroom Month, National Italian Cheese Month, National Papaya Month, National Potato Month, National Rice Month, National Whole Grains Month, and National Wild Rice Month.

Trivia

  • September’s birthstone is the sapphire, which is believed to bring gifts of fulfillment, joy, prosperity, inner peace, and beauty
  • The western zodiac signs of September are Virgo (until September 22) and Libra (September 23 onwards).
  • The month’s birth flowers are the forget-me-not, morning glory and aster.

Rabbit Rabbit is a project designed to look at each month of the year with respect to history, observances, and more.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Rabbit Rabbit – August 2021

Rabbit Rabbit
August 2021

Rabbit, rabbit!

Since at least 1909, a superstition has lived in North American and the United Kingdom that if a person says or repeats the word “rabbit” upon waking up on the first day of the month, good luck will follow for the remainder of that month.

Elements of the tradition exist in the United Kingdom, New England, and even in various First Nation cultures.

While I’m not necessarily endorsing the superstition, it provides a way to look in depth at each month of the year, from history and observances to miscellaneous trivia. The topic this month is August.

History

August was originally named Sextilis, derived from Latin because it was the sixth month in the original ten-month Roman calendar under Romulus (with March being the first month of the year). Somewhere around 700 BC, it became the eighth month when January and February were added to the year by King Numa Pompilius. Pompulius also gave the month 29 days, but Julius Caesar added two days when he created the Julian calendar in 46 BC.

In 8 BC, it was renamed in honor of Emperor Augustus, who apparently chose the month because it was the time of several of his great triumphs, including the conquest of Egypt.

Among the aborigines of the Canary Islands, especially among the Guanches of Tenerife, the month was called Beñesmer (or Beñesmen), which was also the harvest festival held in the same month.

Observances

August has a significant number of meteor showers. The Kappa Cygnids vary each year around August. The Alpha Capricornids meteor shower takes place as early as July 10th and ends a month later. The Southern Delta Aquariids take place from mid-July to mid-August, with the peak usually around July 28th or 29th. The Perseids, a major meteor shower, typically takes place between July 17th and August 24th. Finally, the star cluster of Messier 30 is best observed this month.

Internationally, observances include American Adventures Month (which celebrates vacationing in the Americas), Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, Digestive Tract Paralysis (DTP) Month, Get Ready for Kindergarten Month, Happiness Happens Month, Month of Philippine Languages (or Buwan ng Wika), Neurosurgery Outreach Month, Psoriasis Awareness Month, Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month, and What Will Be Your Legacy Month.

In the United States, August is National Black Business Month, National Children’s Vision and Learning Month, National Immunization Awareness Month, National Princess Peach Month, National Water Quality Month, and National Win with Civility Month. The United States also adds food related observances with National Catfish Month, National Dippin’ Dots Month, Family Meals Month, National Goat Cheese Month, National Panini Month, Peach Month, and Sandwich Month.

Trivia

  • August’s birthstones are the peridot (classically believed to drive away fear and open the mind), sardonyx (a red version of the onyx believed to bestow courage), and spinel (which is believed to drive passion).
  • The western zodiac signs of August are Leo (until August 22) and Virgo (August 23 onwards).
  • The month’s birth flowers are the gladiolus and the poppy, symbolizing beauty, strength of character, love, marriage, and family.

Rabbit Rabbit is a project designed to look at each month of the year with respect to history, observances, and more.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Rabbit Rabbit – July 2021

Rabbit Rabbit
July 2021

Rabbit, rabbit!

Since at least 1909, a superstition has lived in North American and the United Kingdom that if a person says or repeats the word “rabbit” upon waking up on the first day of the month, good luck will follow for the remainder of that month.

Elements of the tradition exist in the United Kingdom, New England, and even in various First Nation cultures.

While I’m not necessarily endorsing the superstition, it provides a way to look in depth at each month of the year, from history and observances to miscellaneous trivia. The topic this month is July.

History

July was named by the Roman Senate in honor of of the general Julius Caesar and his birth month. Before that point, it was called Quintilis, literally the fifth month of a ten-month calendar.

There’s really not much more to its history. In the modern era, it marks the beginning of the second half of the year, and heralds the arrival of the Dog Days in the Northern Hemisphere as the typically hottest days of summer come to bear.

Observances

The month is light in observances. The United Kingdom and United States share Group B Strep Awareness Month, and the US adds National Hot Dog Month and National Ice Cream Month.

There are a slew of daily observances, however, so there are still plenty of ways to celebrate.

Trivia

  • July’s birthstone is the ruby, a symbol of contentment.
  • The western zodiac signs of July are Cancer (until July 22) and Leo (July 23 onwards).
  • The month’s birth flowers are the larkspur and the water lily.

Rabbit Rabbit is a project designed to look at each month of the year with respect to history, observances, and more.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Rabbit Rabbit – June 2021

Rabbit Rabbit
June 2021

Rabbit, rabbit!

Since at least 1909, a superstition has lived in North American and the United Kingdom that if a person says or repeats the word “rabbit” upon waking up on the first day of the month, good luck will follow for the remainder of that month.

Elements of the tradition exist in the United Kingdom, New England, and even in various First Nation cultures.

While I’m not necessarily endorsing the superstition, it provides a way to look in depth at each month of the year, from history and observances to miscellaneous trivia. The topic this month is June.

History

June, known as Junius in Latin, originates from multiple places. One of Ovid’s origins is an ode to the Roman goddess Juno, the goddess of marriage and the wife of the supreme deity Jupiter. The second is the Latin word iuniores, meaning “younger ones”, which contrasts with maiores (“elders”), a potential origin for May. The third is Lucius Junius Brutus, founder of the Roman Republic and ancestor of the Roman family gens Junia.

In ancient Rome, mid-May through mid-June was considered unlucky and unpromising for marriage. Ovid relates a consultation with Flaminica Dialis (the high priestess of Jupiter) about setting a date for his daughter’s wedding during which he was advised to wait till after June 15. On the other hand, Plutarch implies that the entire month of June was more favorable for weddings than May.

On the ancient Roman calendar, the festival of Ludi Fabarici spanned May 29 to June 1, Kalendae Fabariae took place on June 1, the Festival to Bellona took place on June 3, Ludi Piscatorii took place on June 7, and Vestalia took place between June 7 and June 15. A Rosalia was held on June 20, and the Secular Games were held roughly every 100 years in either May or June. These dates do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar.

June also contains certain meteor showers, including the Arietids (May 22 to July 2 with a peak on June 7), the Beta Taurids (June 5 to July 18), and the June Bootids (June 26 to July 2).

Observances

Further observances in June include African-American Music Appreciation Month, Pride Month, Caribbean American Heritage Month, Great Outdoors Month, National Oceans Month, and PTSD Awareness Month.

Canada adds in ALS Awareness Month. Barbados includes Crop Over (through the first Monday in August) and the Season of Emancipation (spanning April 14 to August 23). The United Kingdom celebrates National Smile Month in June.

In the Catholic tradition, June is the Month of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

June also contains Juneteenth, a celebration of the emancipation of slaves in the United States. It is commemorated on the anniversary date of the June 19, 1865 announcement by Union Army general Gordon Granger. That announcement proclaimed freedom from slavery in Texas, the last state in the Union to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation.

Finally, June contains the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere – the day with the most daylight hours – and the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere – the day with the fewest daylight hours – although the polar regions are exempted.

Trivia

  • June’s birthstones are the pearl, alexandrite, and moonstone. Pearls are emblematic of perfection, incorruptibility, long life, and fertility. Green alexandrite represents growth, peace, hope, calm and fertility, whereas red alexandrite represents conflicting characteristics such as energy, power, passion and aggression. Moonstone represents hope, sensitivity, and abundance.
  • The western zodiac signs of June are Gemini (until June 20) and Cancer (June 21 onwards).
  • The month’s birth flowers are the rose and honeysuckle.

Rabbit Rabbit is a project designed to look at each month of the year with respect to history, observances, and more.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Rabbit Rabbit – May 2021

Rabbit Rabbit
May 2021

Rabbit, rabbit!

Since at least 1909, a superstition has lived in North American and the United Kingdom that if a person says or repeats the word “rabbit” upon waking up on the first day of the month, good luck will follow for the remainder of that month.

Elements of the tradition exist in the United Kingdom, New England, and even in various First Nation cultures.

While I’m not necessarily endorsing the superstition, it provides a way to look in depth at each month of the year, from history and observances to miscellaneous trivia. The topic this month is May.

History

May was named for the Greek goddess Maia, identified with the Roman goddess of fertility Bona Dea. The festival celebrating the Roman goddess was held in the same month. The late Russian Empire also used the term for a picnic held early in the month. This picnic, mayovka, evolved into an illegal celebration of May 1st (a day of worker revolution).

In the ancient Roman calendar, the month is a big one for festivals. Bona Dea fell on May 1, Argei fell on May 14 or May 15, Agonalia fell on May 21, and Ambarvalia on May 29. Floralia, which began on April 27, carried on until May 3. Lemuria (festival) fell on 9,11, and 13 May under the Julian calendar. The College of Aesculapius and Hygia celebrated two festivals of Rosalia on May 11 and May 22. Rosalia was also celebrated at Pergamon on May 24–26. A military Rosalia festival, Rosaliae signorum, also occurred on May 31. 

Ludi Fabarici was celebrated between May 29 and June 1. Mercury would receive a sacrifice on the Ides of May (May 15). Tubilustrium took place on May 23 as well as in March. These dates do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar.

May also holds several special devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Catholic circles.

Observances

Further observances are plentiful, including Celiac Awareness Month, Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Awareness month, International Mediterranean Diet Month, the Season of Emancipation (spanning April 14 to August 23 in Barbados), Better Hearing and Speech Month, the Kaamatan harvest festival in Labuan and Sabah, Flores de Mayo in the Philippines, Garden for Wildlife month, New Zealand Music Month, National Pet Month in the United Kingdom, Skin Cancer Awareness Month, National Smile Month in the UK, South Asian Heritage Month, World Trade Month, and Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month.

The United States adds another batch, including Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, National ALS Awareness Month, Bicycle Month, National Brain Tumor Awareness Month, National Burger Month, Community Action Awareness Month (in North Dakota), National Electrical Safety Month, National Foster Care Month, National Golf Month, Jewish American Heritage Month, Haitian Heritage Month, Hepatitis Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness Month, National Military Appreciation Month, National Moving Month, Older Americans Month, National Osteoporosis Month, National Stroke Awareness Month, and National Water Safety Month.

It makes a lot of sense in the Northern Hemisphere since May is the gateway to the summer months.

Trivia

  • May’s birthstone is the emerald. It is emblematic of love and success.
  • The western zodiac signs of May are Taurus (until May 19) and Gemini (May 20 and beyond).
  • The month’s birth flowers are the Lily of the Valley and the Crataegus monogyna. They are both native the cool and temperate climates of Asia and Europe, as well as the southern Appalachian Mountains in the United States.
  • Another significant flower is the Mayflower (Epigaea repens), a North American harbinger of the month and the floral emblem of both Nova Scotia and Massachusetts.

Rabbit Rabbit is a project designed to look at each month of the year with respect to history, observances, and more.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Rabbit Rabbit – April 2021

Rabbit Rabbit
April 2021

Rabbit, rabbit!

Since at least 1909, a superstition has lived in North American and the United Kingdom that if a person says or repeats the word “rabbit” upon waking up on the first day of the month, good luck will follow for the remainder of that month.

Elements of the tradition exist in the United Kingdom, New England, and even in various First Nation cultures.

While I’m not necessarily endorsing the superstition, it provides a way to look in depth at each month of the year, from history and observances to miscellaneous trivia. The topic this month is April.

History

April started as a Roman month with the Latin name Aprilis. The origin of the name is uncertain, but the Romans believed that it derived from the verbs aperio, aperire, and/or apertus, which each mean “to open”. In modern day, that’s where we get the word aperture. The the famous grammarian Verrius Flaccus expanded on these thoughts, writing that “fruits and flowers and animals and seas and lands do open” in this season.

Ironically, my sinuses close up as the pollen starts flying.

Since the Romans had a tradition of tying months to honor of divinities, and since April was sacred to the goddess Venus – her Veneralia festival was held on the first day – some have suggested that Aprilis was originally the goddess’s month of Aphrilis, stemming from her equivalent Greek goddess name Aphrodite of the Etruscan equivalent Apru.

April was originally the second month of the earliest Roman calendar, but the addition of Ianuarius and Februarius by King Numa Pompilius circa 700 BC knocked it to third. It became the fourth month of the calendar year during the time of the decemvirs circa 450 BC. Julius Caesar gave the month 30 days during his reforms in the 40s BC.

The Anglo-Saxons called April ēastre-monaþ, which led the Venerable Bede to conclude in The Reckoning of Time that the month was the root of the word Easter. He also believed that the month was named after a goddess Eostre, a Western Germanic spring goddess whose feast was in that month.

In China, the third month brought the symbolic ploughing of the earth by the emperor and princes of the blood, and that month frequently corresponds to April. In Finnish, April is huhtikuu, meaning slash-and-burn moon, when gymnosperms (seed-producing plants) for beat and burn clearing of farmland were felled. Equivalently in Slovene, the most established traditional name is mali traven, meaning the month when plants start growing.

Observances

In Ancient Rome, the festival of Cerealia was held for seven days from mid-to-late April, but exact dates are uncertain. Feriae Latinae was also held in April with the varying dates. The Romans also observed Veneralia (April 1), Megalesia (April 10–16), Fordicidia (April 15), Parilia (April 21), and Vinalia Urbana, Robigalia, and Serapia, which were celebrated on April 25. Floralia was held April 27 during the Republican era, or April 28 on the Julian calendar, and lasted until May 3. However, these dates do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar.

The Lyrids meteor shower appears on April 16 – April 26 each year, with the peak generally occurring on April 22. The Eta Aquariids meteor shower also appears in April, typically between April 21 and May 20 each year with peak activity on or around May 6. The Pi Puppids appear on April 23, but only in years around the parent comet’s perihelion date. The Virginids also shower at various dates in April.

In Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox traditions, April is the Month of the Resurrection of the Lord. April and March are the months in which is celebrated the moveable feast of Easter Sunday. In the Jewish faith, Passover tends to fall around the same time.

In the United Kingdom, April is National Pet Month. The United States once again takes the lion’s share of observances, including Arab American Heritage Month, Autism Awareness Month, Cancer Control Month, Community College Awareness Month, Donate Life Month (which boosts awareness for organ donation), Financial Literacy Month, Jazz Appreciation Month, Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month, National Poetry Month, National Poetry Writing Month, Occupational Therapy Month, National Prevent Child Abuse Month, National Volunteer Month, Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month, and Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Considering food, April is also Fresh Florida Tomato Month, National Food Month, National Grilled Cheese Month, National Pecan Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, and National Soyfoods Month.

It sounds like a great month for a grilled cheese and tomato soup combo.

Trivia

  • April’s birthstone is the diamond, which comes with a boatload of mythology, symbolism, and lore.
  • The western zodiac signs of April are Aries (until April 19) and Taurus (April 20 and beyond).
  • The month’s birth flowers are the daisy and the sweet pea.

Rabbit Rabbit is a project designed to look at each month of the year with respect to history, observances, and more.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Rabbit Rabbit – March 2021

Rabbit Rabbit
March 2021

Rabbit, rabbit!

Since at least 1909, a superstition has lived in North American and the United Kingdom that if a person says or repeats the word “rabbit” upon waking up on the first day of the month, good luck will follow for the remainder of that month.

Elements of the tradition exist in the United Kingdom, New England, and even in various First Nation cultures.

While I’m not necessarily endorsing the superstition, it provides a way to look in depth at each month of the year, from history and observances to miscellaneous trivia. The topic this month is March.

History

March comes from the Roman month Martius, the first month of the Roman calendar. It was named after Mars, the Roman god of war, and an ancestor of the Roman people through his sons Romulus and Remus. Thus, the month of Martius was known as the beginning of the season of warfare.

Martius remained the first month of the year until 153 BC, and many of the religious observances in the month doubled as celebrations of the new year. Martius observances included Agonium Martiale (March 1st, 14th, and 17th), Matronalia (March 1st), Junonalia (March 7th), Equirria (March 14th), Mamuralia (March 14th or 15th), Hilaria (March 15th and 22nd-28th), Argei (March 16th and 17th), Liberalia and Bacchanalia (March 17th), Quinquatria (March 19th-23rd), and Tubilustrium (March 23rd). These dates do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar.

In Finnish, the month is called maaliskuu, believed to originate from maallinen kuu. During March, the earth finally becomes visible under the snow, quite literally “a month with ground”. In Ukrainian, the month is called березень/berezenʹ, meaning birch tree. Similary, it is known as březen in Czech.

Historical names for March include the Saxon Lentmonat, named after the March equinox and gradual lengthening of days, and the eventual namesake of Lent. Saxons also called March Rhed-monat or Hreth-monath (deriving from their goddess Rhedam/Hreth), and Angles called it Hyld-monath.

In Slovene, the traditional name is sušec, meaning the month when the earth becomes dry enough so that it is possible to cultivate it. That mouthful was was first written in 1466 in the Škofja Loka manuscript. The Turkish word Mart is given after the name of the god Mars.

Observances

The Catholic faith observes March as the Month of Saint Joseph, the believed human father of Jesus. In Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, it is Women’s History Month. On the international stage, it is Endometriosis Awareness Month.

In Canada, March is National Nutrition Month. The United States, on the other hand, floods the market with Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, Irish-American Heritage Month, Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, Music in our Schools Month, National Athletic Training Month, National Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Frozen Food Month, National Kidney Month, National Nutrition Month, National Professional Social Work Month, National Reading Awareness Month, Youth Art Month, and National Ladder Safety Month.

The March Equinox occurs this month, marking the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.

Trivia

  • March’s birthstones are the aquamarine and bloodstone, both symbolizing courage.
  • The western zodiac signs of March were Pisces (until March 19, 2020) and Aries (March 20, 2020 onwards).
  • The month’s birth flower is the daffodil.

Rabbit Rabbit is a project designed to look at each month of the year with respect to history, observances, and more.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.