October was originally the eighth month of the Roman calendar. It comes from the Latin word “octo” meaning eight. Later it became the tenth month when January and February were added to the calendar. The Anglo-Saxons called October Winterfylleth and in early Germanic, October was known as Weinmond, meaning wine month.
Libra (September 23 – October 22) is the zodiac sign for October. Libra is an air sign represented by the scales (interestingly the only inanimate object of the zodiac), an association that reflects Libra’s fixation on balance and harmony. Libra is obsessed with symmetry and strives to create equilibrium in all areas of life. Libras can navigate virtually any social situation, effortlessly resolving conflicts by simply turning on the charm. Libras are cooperative, diplomatic, gracious, fair-minded and social. Libras are most compatible with Aries and Sagittarius.
Opal and pink tourmaline are the birthstones of October. The opal represents amplification, higher hope, deeper spirituality, and divine purity. With its high vibrations, spectrum of colors, and healing vibes, it invites the wearer to stay calm and balanced. Pink tourmaline has amazing healing powers, fueling your emotional body with positive energy. Each one of your chakras can benefit from the power of this lovely pink crystal. Pink tourmaline is said to bring out artistic creativity in the wearer. It is also believed to be a protective stone, helping to shield the wearer from negative energy.
The flower that has come to represent October is the calendula or marigold. When we see this bright yellow/orange flower we think of a fall sunset or the changing leaves. Marigolds represent comfort, healing, and protection. Marigold petals have been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times, including by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Marigold petals were often used to treat stomachaches and skin inflammation.
There’s a lot happening in the sky during the month of October. On October 14 there is a rare “ring of fire” solar eclipse. October 21 and 22 look overhead and toward the south between 2 and 4 AM for the Orionid Meteor Shower as it reaches its peak on these two mornings. October 28 is the Full Blood Moon and partial lunar eclipse. Look for Jupiter to the Moon’s lower left. And… there’s a Friday the 13th this month, making it the spookiest October yet.
Weather Lore becomes very prevalent in October, there are so many sayings about the weather in October affecting winter months. For example, “warm October, cold February” and “if October brings frost and wind, January and February will be mild.” “Gnats in October are a sign of long, fair weather “ and “when leaves fall early, winter will be mild…when leaves fall late, winter will be severe”.
National Book Fair Month is held each October. It was created in 2003 to honor the country’s best books and authors. This month long celebration focuses on the importance of reading, writing and literature. One of the best ways to participate is to start a new book and then share it.
October is National Pizza month, it began in October of 1984 and was created by the publisher of Pizza Today magazine. The least popular pizza topping is anchovies and the most popular is pepperoni, then extra cheese, mushrooms, and onions. Connecticut is the state that loves pizza the most and Hawaii is the state that dislikes pizza the most. More pizzas are ordered on Halloween with the Super Bowl coming in with a close second.
Pumpkins are the unofficial mascot of fall. The U.S. produces 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins every year. Over 50% of the U.S. population buys a pumpkin in October. The pumpkin industry reported sales of over $700 million last year. Every state grows some pumpkins but most of our supply is grown in five states: California, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
During an Autumn exploration walk through Pickering Creek years ago I learned that the first Jack-o-lanterns were made from turnips. There is an Irish folk tale about “Stingy Jack” trying to trick the devil into paying for his bar tab. After Jack died, the devil wouldn’t let Jack cross over to the afterlife. Jack was forced to wander the Earth at night, his light a single lump of coal carried in a hollow turnip, earning the nickname, “Jack of the Lantern.” When Irish immigrants moved to America, they found pumpkins much more suitable for carving than turnips, and the modern Jack-o-Lantern was born.
Kate Emery General is a retired chef/restaurant owner that was born and raised in Casper, Wyoming. Kate loves her grandchildren, knitting and watercolor painting. Kate and her husband , Matt are longtime residents of Cambridge’s West End where they enjoy swimming and bicycling.