Month of October
Octo is the prefix with Latin roots meaning "eight". In the old Roman calendar there were ten months and October was the eighth of these. When the calendar was revised in about 700 B.C. two months were added by Numa Pompilius to a ten month calendar. In 153 B.C. the Roman Senate moved the beginning of the year from March to January, the name of the numbered months was not changed to reflect the adjustment. In England the word "October" came into use via the Old French. It replaced winterfylleğ which means "winter full moon". It marked the beginning of cold weather.
October has always had 31 days, making it one of the more consistent months over the centuries.
The most popular holiday in October is by far Halloween, celebrated on the 31st of October. The origins of Halloween are murky. The Catholic church wished to honor the saints of the past and made 1 November "All Saints Day". The night before became "All-Hallows Eve". People believed that disembodied souls came out upon this night to find a body. So the people dressed up in costumes to disguise themselves from the spirits. Thus many practices arose that are still traditionally practiced today, including "trick-or-treating" - going door to door for candy.
Columbus Day is observed on the Second Monday in October. It commemorates the landing of the great explorer in the New World on 12 October 1492. In Canada Thanksgiving is observed on the second Monday in October.
October has been adopted by many organizations and causes. It is known variously as, "Eat Better - Eat Together Month", "National Chili Month", and "National Construction Toy Month" to name just a few. The month also contains "Spinning and Weaving Week", "Mystery Series Week", and "Squirrel Appreciation Week". Days that have been singled out include "Mad Hatter Day", "Pulaski Day", and "Mulligan Day". A popular day to popularize chemistry is Mole Day on the 23rd.
October is generally seen as a harvest month, or as a month of color - when the leaves change. It is a time of waning light in the Northern Hemisphere. Halloween casts its shadow over the entire month with scary tales, stories, and movies being popular.
The birthstone for October is the opal.
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