Now that October is officially upon us, we can say ‘goodbye’ to summer for good, and start the countdown to the upcoming holiday season. If you were actually counting down, that’s 30 days until Halloween, 8 weeks until Thanksgiving, and 12 weeks until Christmas. Which means only 13 weeks left in 2014. So perhaps it’s time to start thinking about beginning those 2014 New Year’s resolutions…
But before we get ahead of ourselves, I thought I’d look at some fun facts about what I consider one of the most “interesting” months of the year. Brightly colored leaves (depending on where you live of course), orange everywhere (an often under-used color in my opinion), it’s not-quite-summer/not-quite-winter, pumpkin and apple cinnamon flavored everything, and last but not least, the figurehead of the month, the most bizarre and amazing holiday of the year: Halloween! No other month seems to be as jam-packed with good stuff as October.
So let’s take a look at some other interesting facts that we can add to October’s bio:
1. The eighth month in the old Roman calendar, October retained its name (from the Greek “οκτώ” meaning “eight”) after January and February were inserted into the calendar that had originally been created by the Romans
2. The Anglo-Saxons called October Winterfylleth, because at this full moon (fylleth) winter was supposed to begin. The Welsh for October is Hydref (originally Hyddfref), a word signifying the lowing of cattle.
3. In common years January starts on the same day of the week as October, but no other month starts on the same day of the week as October in leap years. October ends on the same day of the week as February every year and January in common years only.
4. In Catholic Europe in 1582, October had only 21 days. Changing from Julian to Gregorian calendar, the days from 5-14 October were omitted.
5. The month of October is not mentioned at all in any of William Shakespeare’s plays.
6. According to a recent study in Italy, October is the best month for conceiving a boy baby.
7. More candy is sold on October 28th than any other day of the year.
8. Halloween or Hallowe’en (a contraction of “All Hallows’ Evening”) has been thought to be initially popularized as a Christianized feast initially influenced by Celtic harvest festivals, with pagan roots, particularly the Gaelic Samhain. All Saint’s (Hallows) Day was set in place on November 1st as a way to draw pagans to Christianity.
9. 158 million people in the United States celebrated Halloween in 2013, spending a total of $6.9 billion on candy, costumes and decorations, according to the National Retail Federation.
10. There are only two days of the year when you can stand an egg on its end, the autumn and spring equinox. To do this you will need an egg. (It does not have to be hard-boiled.) Place the egg on a hard, flat surface on its largest end. Carefully pull your hands away and it should remain upright!