October's poplars are flaming torches lighting the way to winter. - Nova Bair
Ah, October. What September started, this month will finish. Leaves are turning in earnest, and the weatherman is forecasting frost. Time to haul the sweaters out of the cedar chest, to try on last year's coats and boots before the snow flies.
October is named for the eighth month of the Roman calendar. It is the tenth month of the Japanese lunar calendar, where it is called Kannazuki, "the month when there are no gods." Legend has it that the eight million gods of Japan leave their shrines in October and convene at the grand shrine of Izumu Taisha to discuss the state of the world. (I guess the best you can do if you need one is to leave a message.)
This is the month of the Full Hunters' Moon, and its birthstone is opal -- a stone said to be mysterious and powerful, but also unlucky for any but those born in October.
October is Diabetes Awareness Month, a subject close to my own heart. It is also Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, International Drum Month, and National Popcorn Popping Month. And Oktoberfest is in full swing.
Interesting holidays are a bit thin on the ground this month, but Halloween makes up for that, lasting all month as it does these days. However, there are a few worth mentioning: October 2 is Name Your Car Day. (I think I'll call mine Martha. It's a minivan.) October 6 is Mad Hatter Day, when we're allowed to admit that we are all completely nuts. The 11th is Take Your Teddy Bear to Work Day, which may or may not be a great idea, depending on your office culture and career goals. If the bear thing goes badly, you can recoup your losses on the 16th with a nice suck-up present for Bosses Day. On the other hand, if you got away with having a teddy bear in your cubicle, you can probably pull off Wear Something Gaudy Day on October 17.
Sweetest Day is becoming mainstream, but I gotta say I don't get it. I mean, don't we have Valentine's Day for that? But hey, if you want it, go for it. It's October 21. Ditto for Mother in Laws' Day, October 28, which is a rerun of Mothers' Day if you did that one right. If you blew Mothers' Day, this is your chance to grovel your way back into a Mom's good graces.
All of which, of course, pales in comparison with the blow out, big-finish death fest on October 31, AKA Halloween. After which, it is officially time to get going on Christmas, the big mack daddy of all holidays. Now that's scary.