Originally written on June, 2021. Updated 2023
“It is the month of June,
The month of leaves and roses,
When pleasant sights salute the eyes,
And pleasant scents the noses.”
–N. P. Willis (1807-67)
The month of June brings beautiful flowers, delicious fruits and vegetables, and an urge to get out there and enjoy the sunshine.
June was most likely named for the Roman goddess Juno, patroness of marriage and the well-being of women, or from Lucius Junius Brutus, the one who drove out the last king of Rome and founded the Republic.
Another version says that the name came from the Latin juvenis, “young people,” who were celebrated at this time.
According to the Attic calendar, Apollo and his twin sister Artemis were born at this very time. In their honour Thargelies were celebrated, festivals which gave the month their name: Thargelion (Θαργηλιών).
In China, this month has the name Liúyuè (榴月), the month of Pomegranate, while in Japan it’s Minazuki (水無月), Water month, as this is the moment the rice fields are flooding.
In the Anglo-Saxon tradition it was called Brachmonat, Fallow month. In Finland it is Kesäkuu, where Kesä means Summer. In Iceland, this month’s name is Skerpla, its origins wrapped in mystery: it could be a goddess unknown to us, or maybe its root should be found in words like skerpa, vigor.
Even in the Jewish tradition, the arrival of the beautiful season was celebrated, and this period was named Sivan (סִיוָן), which comes from the Akkadian simānu, or Season.
June 2 in Italy is the Festa della Repubblica, one of the national symbols of Italy. The day commemorates the institutional referendum held by universal suffrage in 1946, in which the Italian people were called to the polls to decide on the form of government following the Second World War and the fall of Fascism.
June 5 is World Environment Day, a day meant to raise environmental awareness across the globe.
9th June is St Columba’s Day. Columcille, or Columba was born in Ireland in early December 521, into the royal clan in Donegal. His name means “dove of the church.” According to legend, after being condemned by a Synod, Columcille left Ireland to take the word of God to foreign parts. In 563 he landed on the holy Isle of Iona in northwest Scotland with twelve companions. Together they set up a monastery and so began the evangelization of Scotland and northern England. Columba was an Irish prince as well as a monk, and many of his people, the Scots of Del Riata in Ulster, followed him and settled in Alba (Scotland). Columba carried the gospel to the native Picts. He died on Iona on 9th June 597.
June 14 in U.S. is Flag Day and, if you are American, be sure to raise your flag! It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. The Flag Resolution, passed that June 14, stated: “Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
But the United States Army also celebrates the U.S. Army birthday on this date: Congress adopted “the American continental army” after reaching a consensus position in the Committee of the Whole on June 14, 1775.
June 15th is Knolly’s Rose Ceremony. Dating back to 1346, this tradition involves the presentation of a single rose to the Lord Mayor. The rose representing the ‘fine’ imposed on Sir Robert Knollys for building a footbridge over Seething Lane without official consent.
June 19 is Juneteenth (also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day). On this day in 1865, Union General Gordon Granger read the Emancipation Proclamation aloud in Galveston, Texas, effectively liberating slaves in the state, which had thus far been beyond control of the Union Army.
Around June 20 (June 21, in 2023) is the summer solstice, which heralds the start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s the day with the most hours of daylight while, im the Southern Hemisphere, winter begins at this time.
In some part of the world June 20 is also Father’s Day this year while in Canada, June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. This holiday is meant to remind Canadians of the contributions of the many First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples. This date was chosen as the statutory holiday for many reasons, including its cultural significance as the Summer solstice, and the fact that it is a day on which many Indigenous peoples and communities traditionally celebrate their heritage.
June 24 brings Midsummer Day, traditionally the midpoint of the growing season, halfway between planting and harvesting.
Cut your thistles before St. John, on June 24,
and you will have two instead of one!
But not only: according to popular folklore, “if June be sunny, harvest comes early. June damp and warm does the farmer no harm.”
The middle of summer comes after the longest day and it is a time associated with witches, magic, fairies and dancing.
On the eve of Midsummer’s Day, many bonfires used to be burnt all over the world. This was in praise of the sun, for the days were getting shorter and the sun appeared to be getting weaker, so people would light fires to try and strengthen the sun.
June 28th in Barrowden, England is Rush Strewing. The ceremony recreates the practice of placing clean rushes on the earthen floor of churches prior to the practice of flagging the floors. Floors of churches were left as dirt, being handy places for burials. The ceremonies which evolved are still observed in a few churches and normally take place on the day of the patron saint of the church. No two churches practice exactly the same ceremonies.
At Barrowden reeds are gathered in the church meadow on the eve of St Peter’s Day and placed on the church floor.
More fun things to celebrate this June?
June 1 is National Milk Day, but also National go Barefoot Day.
First Friday of June is National Donut Day while June 3 is World Bicycle Day.
June 4 is National Hug Your Cat Day, Cognac Day and National Cheese Day.
June 6 is National Yo-Yo Day.
June 7 is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day.
June 8 is World Oceans Day and June 11 is World Gin Day.
June 14 is National Cupcake Day and June 15 Nature Photography Day while June 17 is National Apple Strudel Day.
June 18 is International Picnic Day, National Go Fishing Day, International Surfing Day and International Sushi Day.
June 21 is World Music Day and Go Skateboarding Day, while June 22 is National Onion Rings Day.
June 24 is International Fairy Day and June 25 is International Day of the Seafarer.
June 27 is International Pineapple Day.
June 30 is Social Media Day and National Meteor Watch Day.
About the Moon, June’s full Moon, or the full Strawberry Moon, in 2023, occurs on the evening of Saturday, June 3, just after sunset, and it will appear large and golden-hued.
It will reach peak illumination at 11:43 P.M. Eastern Time.
It sounds good. But why it’s called the Strawberry Moon?
In any case, June’s birth flowers are the honeysuckle and the rose.
Roses are one of the most recognizable flowers, often given as a sign of affection because it’s long been a symbol of love.
The honeysuckle, with its tubular flowers, are magnets for hummingbirds and represents happiness and positive energy.
The rose family (Rosaceae) is made up of more than 100 species of perennial flowering shrubs, and mang are cultivated for their beautiful flowers with colors including white, yellow, pink, and red. Most rose species are native to Asia, but some have origins linked to locations in North America, Europe, and Northwest Africa.
They are typically grouped into three categories: species (evolved and adapted naturally over time), old garden (classified as varieties developed by breeding efforts before the 1860s) and modern, descendants of both groups and developed since the 1860s.
The rose has long been a symbol of love, beauty, and affection, despite each color holds a different meaning.
A classic red rose, for example, means ‘I love you’ and is a sign of romance, pink represents happiness and admiration, white symbolizes innocence and purity, orange means desire and excitement, and yellow represents cheer and happiness, although some folklore considered it to mean jealousy.
A red and white rose paired together has come to symbolize unity.
The Romans viewed roses as a representation of death and rebirth, often planting them at the graves of loved ones.
During the Roman period, the Middle East was a popular growing location, and their petals were used as confetti for celebrations, with Roman emperor Nero staging rose feasts. They were also used to scent rooms, for medicinal use, and for perfume fragrance.
It is said that Cleopatra filled a room more than a foot deep with rose petals in an effort to win over Mark Antony.
The rose was also a symbol of war fought between the houses of York and Lancaster for the English throne in the 15th century. The white rose was synonymous with York, while the red rose represented Lancaster. The conflict between the two became known, not by chance, as the “War of the Roses.”
During the 17th century, roses were seen as a form of legal tender and used to barter and for payments.
French botanical painter Pierre Joseph Redouté created his Les Roses series in the garden of Château de Malmaison, located just outside Paris, France.
In 1892, the American Rose Society was established “to promote the culture, preservation and appreciation of the Rose.”
In Colorado, fossil evidence in the form of rose leaves suggest that plants in the rose family date back at least 35 million years!
But It is estimated that the cultivation of garden roses dates back 5,000 years, beginning in China.
It is believed that the oldest living rose is about 1,000 years old. Located at Hildesheim Cathedral in Hildesheim, Germany, the roots of the rose even survived when the cathedral was bombed during the Second World War.
The rose is the National Floral Emblem of the United States while, in Italy, these flowers are celebrated in May, with some referring to it as “the month of the rose.”
Rose oil has been used for medicinal purposes dating back to ancient China.
It is used in skincare, most notably for dry and sensitive skin. Other uses include: as a mild sedative, as an antidepressant, and for stress conditions, while rose petals can be brewed for teas, or used for making potpourri.
In any case, rose are also of special importance on Midsummer’s Eve. It is said that any rose picked on Midsummer’s Eve, or Midsummer’s Day will keep fresh until Christmas.
At midnight on Midsummer’s Eve, young girls should scatter rose petals before them and say:
“Rose leaves, rose leaves,
Rose leaves I strew.
He that will love me
Come after me now.”
Then the next day, Midsummer’s Day, their true love will visit them.
The honeysuckle blossom in the spring with fragrant flowers that have four petals and grows in two pairs or clusters. Flowers, which are tubular, range in color from white and yellow to purple, pink, and red.
After the bloom is done, flowers are replaced with round berries that can be orange, red, or a shade of pink.
A member of the Caprifoliaceae family, honeysuckles are native to the Northern Hemisphere, with certain species native to locations in China, Japan, Europe, India, and North America.
Its name comes for the Middle English word honeysouke, which translated to “honey suck”, and it is believed it came from the ability to suck the sweet nectar straight from the flowers once picked.
The honeysuckle traditionally symbolized happiness and affection for a new love, but it has also been known to represent nostalgia for first loves or old flames.
They were commonly planted near homes to create a feeling of nostalgia and to honor those who have died, but It is also meant to bring happiness and positive energy into your life.
According to other legends, planting a honeysuckle near the home would keep away negativity and protect you from evil spirits.
The Druids used symbols of honeysuckle in the Celtic alphabet to represent joy and happiness.
Honeysuckle has been used to treat a number of ailments, including digestive disorders, respiratory issues, and headaches. Its uses also include to treat arthritis, rashes, skin diseases, and even snakebites.
In China, honeysuckle has been traditionally thought to remove toxins from the body and promote positive emotions.
June’s birthstone is generally considered to be the Pearl, as well as Alexandrite and Moonstone.
Pearls are associated with purity, modesty, honesty, and calmness.
Iridescent pearls come in different colors and they are a popular wardrobe accessory. You’ll find pearls in a spectrum of neutrals ranging from creamy white to black, and to an assortment of other hues including pink, yellow, brown, green, purple, blue, and silver.
High-quality pearls have a reflective luster, making them appear creamy white with an iridescent sheen that casts many colorful hues.
Many cultures have long associated pearls with the Moon. For example, Hindu folklore described pearls as dewdrops from the moon.
In ancient China, some believed that pearls guaranteed protection from fire and fire-breathing dragons, while others believed golden pearls brought prosperity and luck.
According to Vedic texts, the pearl was born from the Earth’s waters and heaven’s powers, fertilized by lightning. In ancient Greece, pearls were believed to be the tears of the gods, while ancient Japanese folktales said pearls were created from the tears of mythical creatures like mermaids and nymphs.
The phrase “pearl of wisdom” is often used to describe a wise word or statement that can often be found humorous.
In some cultures, pearls were even thought to be bad luck as the gems were stolen from living creatures, and one way to counteract the bad luck was to give pearls with a meaning of love behind them.
Moreover, they were once used in burials, placed in the mouths of the deceased to assist them on their journey beyond and would also be used to decorate burial gifts and clothes.
But where do pearls come from?
Well…they are the only gem found within a living creature! Naturally occurring pearls are created by saltwater and freshwater mollusks, for example oysters, clams, mussels, and abalone.
A pearl will form when an irritant gets deep inside the shell of a mollusk and, in response, the mollusk will begin to coat the irritant with nacre, the shiny substance found on the interior side of its shell.
Nacre is created with the mineral aragonite and an organic binder called conchiolin, and that is what gives a pearl its surface luster. Natural pearls, found in the wild, can be various shapes and it is rare to find a perfectly smooth, round specimen.
As natural pearl production declined in the early 1900s, commercially cultivated gems became popular to meet the growing demand. Pearl farms will insert mantle tissue, mother-of-pearl seeds, or shell beads into mollusks to begin the process.
Pearls were once found in many parts of the world, but now, they are mostly confined to the Persian Gulf and cultured pearls come from locations like China, Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
In history, pearls have long been associated with wealth and status, and for generations royal families, as well as the wealthy, have coveted pearls and passed them down to the next generation.
The oldest record dates back to 2206 B.C., found in the writing of a Chinese historian.
During the Byzantine Empire, rules stated that only the emperor was allowed to wear pearls.
For thousands of years, pearls have been associated also with brides and weddings, and It has been thought that they could keep a new bride from crying on her big day!
The alexandrite is a rare variety of the mineral chrysoberyl, often described as “emerald by day, ruby by night.” In fact, the stone changes color depending on the light source: in daylight, it appears as a lovely green or blue-green while, under incandescent light, it appears as red or purplish-red and It is often referred to as “the alexandrite effect.” But it can also show different colors when it is viewed from different directions.
It was originally discovered in Russia’s Ural Mountains in the 1830s and named in honor of Alexander II, who would go on to become tsar.
For alexandrite to form, it requires both beryllium and chromium, which rarely occur in the same rocks. Today, alexandrite is found in Sri Lanka, East Africa, and Brazil, and because of its scarce availability, it is relatively expensive.
The moonstone is a variety of the orthoclase feldspar mineral, is associated with love, passion, and fertility, and is thought to bring good luck.
Pliny the Elder, a popular Roman natural historian, gave the stone its name and wrote that its shimmery appearance shifted the Moon’s phases.
The moonstone has also been considered an alternate birthstone for those born on a Monday, given the day’s name, which stems from Middle English Monenday, literally “day of the Moon”.
During its formation, orthoclase and albite separate into alternating layers. When light goes between the layers, it produces a phenomenon called adularescence, which puts off a white reflection on its surface.
The stone is found in parts of the United States, like New Mexico, North Carolina, and Virginia, as well as India, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar.
The moonstone plays a role in many traditional beliefs. For example, according to Hindu mythology, it was believed that they were made of solidified moonbeams, but other cultures also associated the moonstone with moonlight, given that the stone’s internal structure scatters light when it hits it.
One legend said that you could see the future if you placed a moonstone in your mouth during a full Moon!
Given the Moon’s effect on the Earth’s waters, moonstone was considered a perfect talisman for sea voyages, while some believed that planting a moonstone in the garden during a full Moon would increase the garden’s yield and fertility….
Images from web – Google Research