August tidbits

Over the years, each month has developed a character all of its own, and August is no exception. The following are a few tidbits to help you enjoy it just a little better.

If you live in Europe, if’s likely you’re taking an extended holiday during August. If you live anywhere in the United States, you just might be trying to stay cool – on the days permitted by the indecisive, inconsistent Climate Change, when temps can sometimes range from the high 80s to the low 50s.

The word “August” has been given to this month in tribute to Augustus Caesar, the first Roman emperor. He was actually a man of many names, born Gaius Octavius, the grand nephew of Julius Caesar. In 44BC, he then took the extended name Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus when his namesake was assassinated. But in most history books, he is often referred to simply as Octavian.

If you recall your history (or a couple of Hollywood movies) you know about the hanky-panky at the time between Mark Antony and Cleopatra, cut neatly short by Octavius, who in 31BC gained total control over the entire Roman empire; and a couple of years later was named Emperor, receiving the honorary title Augustus (which means “inspiring reverence or admiration.”)

The story goes a little farther for us when we realize that with the standard definition of the word “august” we are saying someone is majestic. So when people are born between late July and late August, they are considered “Leo the Lions, born on the Leo-Virgo cusp.” If you were born under those astrological categories you are supposed to possess a positive outlook towards life and are very enthusiastic and full of life. You are also proud and determined, and become a great achiever. According to the astrological sign you might also be an attention-getter and at times very demanding – and you may even like to dominate others. But when it comes to confrontation, you are brave and fearless, a natural leader. Your pride in yourself knows no limits, resulting in having an extreme sense of supremacy, just like the Lion itself.

Check the above characteristics against well-known people like Barack Obama (born Aug. 4, 1961), Kobe Bryant (Aug. 23, 1978), George Soros (Aug. 12, 1930), and Michael Jackson (Aug. 29, 1958).

In the early Roman calendar, August was actually the sixth month of the year and it was originally 30 days in length, but an extra day was added to make it equal with the number of days in July (which was named after Julius Caesar, by the way).

Exceptional for the month of August, both wacky and thoughtful celebrations have been historically set. For example, August is the “Admit You’re Happy” month, “Family Fun month,” “National Golf” month, “National Picnic” month, and “Romance Awareness” month.

That’s not all;  the month is also celebrated by the week: first, National Simplify Your Life week; second, National Smile week; Third, Friendship week; Fourth, Be kind to Humankind week.

But it doesn’t stop there. If you look at August by the day, look at just the first week, named: 1, National Girlfriend Day; 2, Friendship Day; 3, Grab Some Nuts Day; 4, U.S, Coastguard Day; 5, National Underwear Day; 6, Wiggle Your Toes Day; and 7, International BeerDay. No, seriously! And the rest of the 31 days are celebrated with equal variety.

The history of the month is loaded with curious happenings, all the way back to that August 22, 565AD, famous for the first spotting of the Loch Ness monster in Scotland! Honest! It was the day that the semi-legendary Saint Columba supposedly confronted the creature. The good saint, as story goes, sailed to Scotland to spread the gospel of Christ; when he reached the lake Ness, he heard of a monster attacking swimmers.  Explained by a chronicler:  “It was lying hidden in the bottom of the river, then suddenly emerged, rushed at a swimmer with a great roar and open mouth. All were terrified except Saint Columba, who with his holy hand held high, he formed the saving sign of the cross, invoked the name of God, and commanded the fierce monster to go no farther. The monster fled while the saint’s’s followers loudly praised God. As for the witnesses, they  were converted on the spot.” 

I guess the Irish aren’t the only people of the British Isles who know how to tell a good story.


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