The Month of July: holidays, a Summer Triangle and folklore

Traditionally, July is the month that seems to be dedicated to freedom, independence, and celebrations of countries and culture.
It is named after Roman dictator Julius Caesar (100 B.C.–44 B.C.), after his death. Julius Caesar made one of his greatest contribution to history: with the help of Sosigenes, he developed the Julian calendar, the precursor to the Gregorian calendar we use still today.

Its celebrations iclude July 1, Canada Day, a Canadian federal holiday that celebrates the creation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867. In short, this federal statutory holiday, it celebrates the anniversary of Canadian Confederation which occurred on July 1, 1867, with the passing of the Constitution Act, 1867 where the three separate colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick were united into a single Dominion within the British Empire called Canada.
Originally called Dominion Day (French: Le Jour de la Confédération), the holiday was renamed in 1982 when the Canadian Constitution was patriated by the Canada Act 1982.
July 4 is Independence Day in the U.S., that celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
July 14 is Bastille Day, which commemorates the storming of the Bastille and the start of the French Revolution.
But don’t forget that July is also National Watermelon Month, while July 7–13 is the National Farriers Week!

More fun things to celebrate this July?
July 8 is International Town Criers Day, while July 17 World Emoji Day (really?). Intended to celebrate emoji, in the years since the earliest observance, it has become a popular date to make product or other announcements and releases relating to emoji. It seems that World Emoji Day is the brainchild of Jeremy Burge, which stated that the London-based founder of Emojipedia created it, in 2014, based on the way the calendar emoji is shown on iPhones.
Jul 20–28: National Moth Week, while July 22 is Spooner’s Day, which celebrates “Spoonerisms”, those tongue slips that most of us make all the time. Literally, a Spoonerism is the name for the instance where you switch the first letters of words around as you talk. For instance if you say “swy flotter” instead of “fly swatter” or “runny babbit” instead of “bunny rabbit”. They got their name from Reverend W. A. Spooner, who was famous for making this mistake often. Well, on this day you can celebrate by refusing to be embarrassed when you misspeak even if, like Spooner, you should always embrace your quirks every day.
July 25 National Day of the Cowboy, on the fourth Saturday in July, and, if this wasn’t enough, on July 27 take your houseplants for a walk day! And don’t ask me why…

July’s full Moon, or the full Buck Moon, occurs on Friday, July 23. Why it’s called the Buck Moon? This is another story. Stay tuned!
Always about astrology, July 5 is the time of aphelion, or when Earth is the farthest it will get from the Sun for the entire year—specifically, we’ll be 94,510,886 miles away from our bright star.
Another highlight of the July sky is the “Summer Triangle.”
The three “stars of summer” which make up the triangle are Vega, Altair, and Deneb and, year after year and century after century, star gazers and enthusiasts have celebrated its return.
The three stars appear similar in brightness: Vega, in the constellation Lyra, is the brightest of the trio and the 5th brightest of all stars. In Carl Sagan’s novel “Contact”, it is the source of the first message ever received from an alien civilization. The 1997 movie version features actress Jodie Foster’s quest for the senders of the message. Back in the real world, we’ve yet to hear anything from the possible inhabitants of the Vega system, but researchers are listening to Vega and thousands of other stars every day, just in case.
Altair, in Aquila (the Eagle), is another Hollywood star: in the 1956 movie “Forbidden Planet”, the fourth planet in the Altair system (Altair IV) is home to the relics of an ancient alien civilization and to an eccentric Earth scientist and his beautiful daughter.
In any case, Altair is the 2nd brightest member of the Summer Triangle and 13th brightest star of all, but we don’t know if it is surrounded by any planets, so Altair IV may or may not exist.
Number three in the Summer Triangle (and 20th brightest star) is Deneb, which marks the tail of Cygnus (the Swan).
I’m sorry, but Deneb has never starred in a major movie, but it has other claims to fame. If Vega and Altair are relatively close to us in astronomical terms, 25 and 17 light-years respectively, Deneb is much farther away, an estimated 2,600 light-years from our planet! And recall that a light-year is the distance light travels in one year, so a big, really big number.

And if the three stars of the Summer Triangle appear to be about equal in brightness, remember that looks can be deceiving: Deneb is more than 100 times farther from us than Vega or Altair, yet it appears nearly as bright. How can this be? Due its actual (or intrinsic brightness) that is much greater than the others. In fact, Deneb is one of the most luminous of all stars, with an astounding 200,000 times brighter than our Sun.
Interestingly, once you’ve spotted the Summer Triangle, you can use it to find other sights: the largest and most prominent asterism associated with the Triangle is the Northern Cross, comprised of the brightest stars in Cygnus.
Smaller and less prominent, but quite striking, is the little Parallelogram which hangs just below blazing Vega in Lyra, while Sagitta the Arrow is a dim but beautiful constellation that sits at the upper left of Altair. It’s one of the smallest constellations, and it really does look like a little arrow.
Just below Sagitta and similar in size is tiny Delphinus, the Dolphin.

Astrology apart, July’s birth flowers are the larkspur and water lily.
The larkspur, especially white forms, generally indicates lightheartedness, if pink, fickleness, if purple, first love.
The water lily symbolizes purity of heart.
The July birthstone is the ruby, which is believed to protect its wearer from evil.
It name is derived from the Latin rubeus, which means, not by chance, “red.” The ruby’s color is due to the presence of chromium, which also makes the gem subject to cracks.
The gem was once thought to protect warriors if worn on their armor or embedded in their skin.
Considered the king of gems, the ruby symbolizes love, passion, energy, and success.
in July, summer bugs are at their best (or worst, as the case may be).
According to popular folklore, “Ne’er trust a July sky”, and don’t forget! If ant hills are high on this month, the coming winter will be hard!

Images from web – Google Research

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