August origins and folklore
August is the eighth month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days. August begins (astrologically) with the sun in the sign of Leo and ends in the sign of Virgo. Astronomically speaking, the sun begins in the constellation of Cancer and ends in the constellation of Leo.
August was named in honour of Augustus Caesar (Octavian). The month reputedly has 31 days because Augustus wanted as many days as Julius Caesar's July. Augustus placed the month where it is because that is when Cleopatra died. Before Augustus renamed August in 8 BCE, it was called Sextilis in Latin, since it was the sixth month in the Roman calendar which started in March.
In Brazil, folk superstition associates bad luck to August, with the proverb 'Agosto, o mês do desgosto' ('August, the month of misfortune') being often heard. This may come from the sinister memories of the St Bartholomew's day (August 24), which is particularly dreaded in the North-east of the country ...
The Anglo-Saxons called it "Arnmonat, (more rightly barn-moneth,) intending thereby the then filling of their barnes with corne" (Verstegan). Arn is the Saxon word for 'harvest'. According to some they also called it 'Woedmonath', as they also called June ...
The eighth was August, being rich array'd
In garment all of gold downe to the ground
Yet rode he not, but led a lovely mayd
Forth by the lily hand, the which was crown'd
With ears of corne, and full her hand was found.
That was the righteous Virgin, which of old
Liv'd here on earth, and plenty made abound;
But after wrong was lov'd, and justice solde,
She left th'unrighteous world, and was to heav'n extolled.
Edmund Spenser (c. 1552 - January 13, 1599), English poet; 'Faerie Queen, The Cantos of Mutabilitie'
Categories: month, calendar, calendar-customs, lammas, season, folklore