Buck Moon: July’s Full Moon

A moon-flooded prairie; a straying Of leal-hearted lovers; a baying Of far away watching dogs; a dreaming Of brown-fisted farmers; a gleaming Of fireflies eddying nigh, — And that is July! James N. Matthews (1852–1910) As we already know, full Moon traditional names come from a number of places, including Native American, Colonial American, and European sources. Traditionally, each full Moon name was applied to the entire lunar month in which it occurred and not only to the full Moon. July’s long and hot summer days are filled with the…

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July 15: the weather folklore of St. Swithin’s Day

What’s the weather doing outside your window today? July 15th is St. Swithin’s Day and, according to an ancient tradition, if it rains on this day, it will rain for the next 40 days. In short, the story began in the year 971, when the bones of St Swithin (who had died over 100 years before) were moved to a special shrine at Winchester Cathedral, and there was a terrific storm that lasted for 40 days. And People said that the saint in heaven was weeping because his bones had…

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Tanabata: the Japanese Star Festival

Tanabata (Japanese: たなばた or 七夕, meaning literally “Evening of the seventh”), also known as the Star Festival (星祭り, or Hoshi matsuri), is a Japanese festival that celebrates the meeting of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi, represented by the stars Vega and Altair respectively. According to legend, the Milky Way separates these lovers, who are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the lunisolar calendar. The festival was introduced to Japan by the Empress Kōken in 755. It originated from “The…

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The ancient origins of the Dog Days of Summer

According to popular folklore: “Dog Days bright and clear Indicate a happy year; But when accompanied by rain, For better times, our hopes are vain.” It sounds good…but what are the Dog Days of summer, exactly? And what do they have to do with dogs? The exact dates of the Dog Days can vary from source to source and probably they have changed over time. However, most sources agree that they occur in mid- to late summer, from July 3 to August 11. This is soon after the Summer Solstice…

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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…

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#TodayInHistory – July 31

July 31 – Some important events on this day. 30 BC 👉🏼 Battle of Alexandria: Mark Antony achieves minor victory over Octavian, but most of his army subsequently deserts, leading to Octavian’s invasion of Egypt 1556 👉🏼 Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order, dies 1620 👉🏼 Pilgrim Fathers depart Leiden, Netherlands for England on their way to America 1703 👉🏼 Daniel Defoe is placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel after publishing a politically satirical pamphlet, but is pelted with flowers. Most famous for his…

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#TodayInHistory – July 30

July 30 – Some important events on this day. 101 BC 👉🏼 Battle of Vercellae: Roman army under Gaius Marius defeats the Cimbri in Cisalpine Gaul, ending the Celto-Germanic threat on Italy’s border with over 100,000 Cimbri killed 762 👉🏼 City of Baghdad founded by Abbasid caliph Al-Mansur, just north of ancient Baghdad. Baghdad, now the second-largest city in the Arab world, was founded in the 8th century by Abbasid caliph Al-Mansur and eventually became the capital of the Abbasid caliphate. Baghdad in this era was a hub of learning…

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#TodayInHistory – July 29

July 29 – Some important events on this day. 626 👉🏼 Avaren/Slaves under khagan Bajan begin siege of Constantinople 904 👉🏼 Thessalonica is sacked by Saracen pirates led by renegade Leo of Tripoli 1279 👉🏼 Five emissaries dispatched by Kublai Khan from the Mongol Yuan dynasty are beheaded by Japan. In 1274 the Mongol Empire under Kublai Khan launched the first of two failed invasions of Japan. Eight years before, Kublai had sent a letter to the Japanese emperor (who in the letter he called the “King of Japan”), threatening…

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The incredible story of the woman who fell 75 storeys in a lift (and survived)

This incredible woman probably had to defy the laws of gravity after she survived a fall of 75 storeys trapped in an elevator. This is the stuff of nightmares for lot of people, but miraculously, Betty Lou Oliver managed to avoid death and survive this terrible event. Betty Lou was working as a lift supervisor at the Empire State Building, when the building was disastrously struck by a bomber plane in 1945. The astonishing survivor was working on the 80th floor of the tallest building in America on this day,…

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#TodayInHistory – July 28

July 28 – Some important events on this day. 1148 👉🏼 Second Crusade: Crusaders abandon their siege of Damascus 1330 👉🏼 Battle of Velbuzd: Serbian forces defeats Bulgarian army 1794 👉🏼 French Revolutionary figure Maximilien Robespierre and 22 other leaders of “the Terror” guillotined to thunderous cheers in Paris 1851 👉🏼 Total solar eclipse captured on a daguerreotype photograph 1866 👉🏼 Metric system becomes a legal measurement system in US 1900 👉🏼 Hamburger created by Louis Lassing in Connecticut 1914 👉🏼 Austria-Hungary decides against mediation and declares war on Serbia…

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#TodayInHistory – July 27

July 27 – Some important events on this day. 1214 👉🏼 1st battle of Bouvines: King Philip II of France vs Holy Roman Emperor Otto IV and King John of England; as a result John lost Normandy and his other possessions in France (hence his nickname John “Lackland”) 1377 👉🏼 First example of quarantine in Rugusa (now Dubroknik): city council passes law saying newcomers from plague areas must isolation for 30 days (later 40 days) 1549 👉🏼 1st Christian missionary in Japan, Jesuit priest Francis Xavier reaches Japan but is…

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#TodayInHistory – July 26

July 26 – Some important events on this day. 657 👉🏼 Battle of Siffin during the first Muslim civil war between Ali ibn Abi Talib and Muawiyah I beside Euphrates River 1267 👉🏼 Inquisition forms in Rome under Pope Clement IV 1519 👉🏼 Francisco Pizarro receives royal charter for the west coast of South America 1533 👉🏼 Francisco Pizarro orders the death of the last Sapa Inca Emperor, Atahualpa 1579 👉🏼 Admiral and navigator Francis Drake leaves San Francisco to cross Pacific Ocean 1775 👉🏼 U.S. postal system established 1803…

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#TodayInHistory – July 25

July 25 – Some important events on this day. 306 👉🏼 Constantine I is proclaimed Roman Emperor by his troops 1521 👉🏼 About 300 heretics burned in Vrijdagmarkt Gent 1538 👉🏼 The City of Guayaquil is founded by the Spanish Conquistador Francisco de Orellana and given the name Muy Noble y Muy Leal Ciudad de Santiago de Guayaquil 1670 👉🏼 Austrian Emperor Leopold I expels 4,000 Jews from Vienna 1814 👉🏼 English engineer George Stephenson introduces his first steam locomotive, a travelling engine designed for hauling coal on the Killingworth…

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Light and air for everybody: the window tax imposed on English citizens in 1696

The Victorian era was one of enormous transformation for British industry and architecture, popular also for its weirdnesses, including funerals for pets, hospitals for dead that prevented the fear of being buried alive, hidden mothers, but also very very very long hair, macabre beheaded portraits, or iconic post mortem photographies. It was also during the Victorian era that windows tax was abolished. July 24, 1851 was the day when citizens of the United Kingdom were allowed light and air in their homes without having to pay for it. And this…

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#TodayInHistory – July 24

July 24 – Some important events on this day. 1487 👉🏼 Citizens of Leeuwarden, Netherlands, rebel against ban on foreign beer 1534 👉🏼 French explorer Jacques Cartier lands in Canada, claims it for France 1567 👉🏼 Mary Queen of Scots is forced to abdicate; her 1-year-old son becomes King James VI of Scots 1793 👉🏼 France passes 1st copyright law 1823 👉🏼 Slavery is abolished in Chile 1824 👉🏼 Harrisburg Pennsylvanian newspaper publishes results of 1st public opinion poll, with a clear lead for Andrew Jackson. Nicknamed ‘Old Hickory’, Jackson…

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#TodayInHistory – July 23

July 23 – Some important events on this day. 1215 👉🏼 Frederick II crowned King of the Romans (King of the Germans) in Aachen 1829 👉🏼 William Austin Burt patents America’s first “typographer”. William Austin Burt patented the typographer on this day, which makes it America’s first typewriter. The model invented by Burt was destroyed in an 1839 fire at the US patent office. Although other typewriters had been invented, Burt’s was the first built in America and possibly the first properly built anywhere in the world. 1840 👉🏼 Union…

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#TodayInHistory – July 22

July 22 – Some important events on this day. 1099 👉🏼 First Crusade: Godfrey of Bouillon is elected the first Defender of the Holy Sepulchre of The Kingdom of Jerusalem 1456 👉🏼 Battle at Nandorfehervar (Belgrade): Hungarian army under Janos Hunyadi beats Sultan Murad II 1484 👉🏼 Battle of Lochmaben Fair – a 500-man raiding party led by Alexander Stewart, Duke of Albany and James Douglas, 9th Earl of Douglas are defeated by Scots forces loyal to Albany’s brother James III of Scotland. Douglas is captured. 1515 👉🏼 First Congress…

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#TodayInHistory – July 21

July 21 – Some important events on this day. 356 BC 👉🏼 Herostratus sets fire to the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. 365 👉🏼 Crete Earthquake followed by tsunami around the Eastern Mediterranean allegedly destroys Alexandria 1403 👉🏼 Battle of Shrewsbury: Army led by the Lancastrian King of England, Henry IV defeats a rebel army led by Henry “Harry Hotspur” Percy of Northumberland thus ending the Percy challenge to the throne. Also the first battle English archers fought each other on English…

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#TodayInHistory – July 20

July 20 – Some important events on this day. 1304 👉🏼 Wars of Scottish Independence: fall of Stirling Castle – King Edward I of England takes the last rebel stronghold of the war 1837 👉🏼 Euston railway station opens in London as the terminus of the London and Birmingham Railway (L&BR), the city’s 1st intercity railway station. The original Euston railway Station was London’s first mainline station and the first station to connect London with another city. Planned by George and Robert Stephenson, it was designed by Philip Hardwick and…

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#TodayInHistory – July 19

July 19 – Some important events on this day. 1595 👉🏼 Astronomer Johannes Kepler has an epiphany and develops his theory of the geometrical basis of the universe while teaching in Graz 1692 👉🏼 5 more people are hanged for witchcraft (20 in all) in Salem, Massachusetts 1843 👉🏼 The steamship SS Great Britain is launched, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, is the first ocean-going craft with an iron hull or screw propeller and the largest vessel afloat in the world. Designed by Britain’s greatest industrial engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel,…

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#TodayInHistory – July 18

July 18 – Some important events on this day. 64 👉🏼 Great Fire of Rome begins under the Emperor Nero. Despite the well-known stories, there is no evidence that the Roman emperor, Nero, either started the fire or played the fiddle while it burned. Still, he did use the disaster to further his political agenda. 1743 👉🏼 1st half-page newspaper ad is published (NY Weekly Journal) 1925 👉🏼 Adolf Hitler publishes Mein Kampf (original title was the catchy “Four and a Half Years (of Struggle) Against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice”)…

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#TodayInHistory – July 17

July 17 – Some important events on this day. 180 👉🏼 6 inhabitants of Carthage, North Africa executed for being Christians. Earliest record of Christianity in this part of the world. 1203 👉🏼 Siege of Constantinople begins during the fourth Crusade, Crusaders aboad a Venetian fleet attack the city 1549 👉🏼 Jews are expelled from Ghent, Belgium 1717 👉🏼 George Frideric Handel’s “Water Music” premieres on the river Thames in London 1762 👉🏼 Catherine II becomes tsarina of Russia following the murder of Peter III 1775 👉🏼 1st military hospital…

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#TodayInHistory – July 16

July 16 – Some important events on this day. 622 👉🏼 Muslim Era begins – Muhammad begins flight from Mecca to Medina (Hijra) 1054 👉🏼 Three Roman legates fracture relations between Western and Eastern Christian churches by placing invalid Papal Bull of Excommunication on altar of Hagia Sophia during liturgy. Often dated start of the East-West Schism. 1439 👉🏼 Kissing is banned in England (to stop the Black Death from spreading) 1519 👉🏼 Public debate between Martin Luther and theologian Johann Eck at Pleissenburg Castle in Liepzig, during which Luther…

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#TodayInHistory – July 15

July 15 – Some important events on this day. 971 👉🏼 According to the legend, English saint Swithun is reburied inside Winchester Cathedral (against his wishes), whereby a terrible storm proceeds to rain for 40 days and nights. 1099 👉🏼 City of Jerusalem is captured and plundered by Christian forces during the First Crusade 1381 👉🏼 John Ball, a leader in the Peasants’ Revolt, is hung, drawn and quartered in the presence of Richard II of England 1410 👉🏼 Battle of Grunwald (First Battle of Tannenburg, Battle of Žalgiris), one…

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#TodayInHistory – July 14

July 14 – Some important events on this day. 1099 👉🏼 Jerusalem captured in First Crusade 1789 👉🏼 Bastille Day – the French Revolution begins with the fall of the Bastille Prison. Of all the monumental events in the French Revolution, none is more iconic than the storming of the Bastille prison on this day. The Bastille was a prison and fortress, and although it only contained seven prisoners at the time it was overrun, it was a potent symbol of the Ancien Regime and its power and corruption. When…

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#TodayInHistory – July 13

July 13 – Some important events on this day. 1568 👉🏼 Dean of St. Paul’s London, Alexander Nowell perfects a way to bottle beer 1668 👉🏼 Van Marco Cesti’s opera “Il Pomo d’Oro” (the Golden Apple or Tomato) premieres in Vienna 1772 👉🏼 Captain James Cook begins 2nd voyage aboard the Resolution to the South Seas to search for Terra Australis (Southern continent) 1832 👉🏼 Source of Mississippi River discovered by American geographer Henry Schoolcraft 1865 👉🏼 Horace Greeley, founder and editor of the “New-York Tribune” reputedly advises his readers…

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#TodayInHistory – July 12

July 12 – Some important events on this day. 1191 👉🏼 English King Richard I the Lionheart and Crusaders defeat Saracens in Palestine 1561 👉🏼 “Trinity Church” (now Saint Basil’s Cathedral) is consecrated in Moscow, Russia 1580 👉🏼 Ostrog Bible, the first printed Bible in a Slavic language, is published 1679 👉🏼 Britain’s King Charles II ratifies Habeas Corpus Act allowing prisoners right to be imprisoned to be examined by a court 1690 👉🏼 Battle of Boyne: in Ireland, Protestant King William III defeats English Catholic King James II 1790…

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#TodayInHistory – July 11

July 11 – Some important events on this day. 1274 👉🏼 Robert the Bruce, more formally known as King Robert I of Scotland, was born on this day. He was a fierce warrior-king, who led the Scots in a number of battles trying to win independence from England, despite he is probably best known for his alleged encounter with a spider….✔️READ THE ARTICLE! 1405 👉🏼 Chinese fleet commander Zheng He sets sail to explore the world for the first time 1533 👉🏼 Pope Clement VII excommunicates England’s King Henry VIII…

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#TodayInHistory – July 10

July 10 – Some important events on this day. 48 BC 👉🏼 Battle of Dyrrhachium: Julius Caesar barely avoids a catastrophic defeat to Pompey near the city of Dyrrachium (in what is now Albania) 1040 👉🏼 Lady Godiva rides naked on horseback through Coventry, according to legend, to force her husband, the Earl of Mercia, to lower taxes 1212 👉🏼 The most severe of several early fires of London burns most of the city to the ground 1778 👉🏼 American Revolution: Louis XVI of France declares war on the Kingdom…

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#TodayInHistory – July 9

July 9 – Some important events on this day. 1401 👉🏼 Turko-Mongol ruler Tamerlane (Timur) destroys Baghdad, killing 20,000 1776 👉🏼 Declaration of Independence is read to George Washington’s troops (NY) 1790 👉🏼 Russo-Swedish War: Second Battle of Svensksund – in the Baltic Sea, the Swedish Navy captures one third of the Russian fleet 1815 👉🏼 1st natural gas well in US is discovered 1816 👉🏼 Argentina declares independence from Spain. 1852 👉🏼 Fire destroys 1,100 construction sites in Montreal, Canada 1868 👉🏼 Louisiana and South Carolina are the last…

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