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Month of July

Julius Caesar is the first human being to give his name to an entire month of the year. In 46 B.C. he ordered a reform of the calendar and in the process he named the seventh month after himself. However, he was careful not to take a month that was already claimed by one of the pantheon of gods, such as June named for the queen of the gods, or March named for Mars, the god of war. He changed the name of Quintilis (meaning fifth month) to July. (It was fifth month because it was the fifth month prior to 153 B.C. when the new year was moved from the 15th of March to 1 January.)1

July Calendar

July has remained stable as months go. It has always possessed 31 days.

The premier holiday of the summer season in the United States is Independence Day, commemorated on July 4th. This is one of the few holidays that has not proved amenable to being affixed to some Monday or other to create a three-day weekend. On July 4th in 1776 the United States declared its independence from England. The day is celebrated with parades, activities, and almost invariably by fireworks.

Several other countries also celebrate similar national holidays during this month. The Canadians celebrate their more peaceful separation from Britain on the 1st of July. The French stormed a decrepit prison called the Bastille on 14 July 1789, liberating a few insane old men and determined it was a turning point in their history. But truly the nation had begun its turn from monarchy to a government that at least espoused a belief in "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite!"2 July is also National Ice Cream month!

July like most other months is crowded with quirky observances such as Air-Conditioner Appreciation Days, Skyscraper Month, and National Unassisted Childbirth Month3. However, it is usually thought of as a month for patriotism. Children are off from school. It is a time for travel and vacations. It is hot in the northern climes. A poem by Sara Coleridge called, The Months reminds us, "July brings the greatest heat, Cloudless skies and dusty street."

The birthstone for July is the ruby.

Next Page: Month of August


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