Ah, the cooler weather is starting to show. Some places are even getting their first smattering of snow. October, known here in the states as the beginning of the busy holiday season.
Second Monday in October – Columbus Day. Celebration of the discovery of the American continents. A controversial holiday for several reasons. There were already indigenous peoples, Leif Erickson discovered the continent almost 500 prior to Columbus and because of the forceful taking of land from the indigenous people. Three of the 50 states do not celebrate Columbus Day. The District of Columbia, the nation’s capital, is named after Columbus.
October 8th – Thanksgiving (Canada). Happy Thanksgiving to our neighbors to the north. I finally got the opportunity to visit Canada for the first time last night. Beautiful area. Granted, we didn’t get much further than maybe a mile from the border, but it made an impression. Can’t wait to visit more places in Canada.
October 9th – Leif Erikson Day (observed). Not a national holiday. Erikson landed in the Labrador area of eastern Canada in 1003. The date was chosen because of a Norwegian ships first appearance in New York Harbor in 1825 that started the influx of immigrants from that area of Europe. By presidential proclamation Oct. 7, 2009.
October 16th – National Bosses Day. First started in 1962, Bosses Day was started as a way to show appreciate for employers in the hope of improving relationships between bosses and their employees.
October 26th – Islamic Eid Al-Adha. End of the Muslim three-day pilgrimage to Mecca. Commemorating the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to obey God by sacrificing his son. Falls on the 10th day of the last month of the Islamic calendar, Dul Hijja.
October 31st – Halloween, Samhain. Celebration of the end of harvest when the last of the crops were brought in and animals were evaluated and chosen for slaughter. The climate would help preserve the meat as by this time, the weather had turned cold enough to keep the stores. Sundown on Samhain is the start of the Celtic New Year. Samhain is also a Sabbat celebrating deceased ancestors. The veil between the physical world and spirit world is the thinnest on Samhain. There are several interpretations for the meaning and ways the holiday was celebrated. Gourds and turnips were hollowed out to resemble protective spirits. The “wee folk” were very active pulling pranks on this night and people started wearing disguises to confuse them and avoiding becoming a victim. It also was thought to protect them from evil spirit wishing to cause harm. These can be seen in the modern day Halloween observances of carving a jack-o-lantern, wearing costumes and decorating using skeletons and ghosts. Trick or Treating has several possible origins. One is the practice of the Druids offering food to appease the wandering spirits. Another is the Irish custom of gathering food for the St. Colum Kill festival on November 2nd.
October is also home to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Fire Prevention Week, Red Ribbon Week, and the conclusion of Oktoberfest.
Only two more months to go.
As usual, leave your observances and holidays in the comments. The more the merrier!