October is the 10th month of the year and a host to a multitude of holidays, most notably Halloween and Oktoberfest.
As September ends and October begins, here’s what you need to know about the month’s history and traditions:
1. October Is Latin for ‘The Eighth Month’
One of the original Roman calendar months, October literally translates to “eighth month.” Because the original Roman calendar began with March, October was the eighth month, just as September, meaning seven, was the seventh month. Same with November (nine) and December (10).
Today, with our calendar beginning in January, October is the 10th month.
The ancient Saxons called October “Wintirfyllith” because it had the first full moon of the winter.
October is associated with autumn or fall. It ends on the same day of the week as February every year and January in common years only. On the last week of October, it is the only time of the entire year when all four major American sports have games at the same time: the MLB, NHL, NFL and NBA.
The October birthstone is tourmaline and opal, its zodiac signs are Libra (September 23-October 22) and Scorpio (October 23-November 21), and the birth flower is the calendula.
Here are some historical and significant dates in October, via famousbirthdays.com:
On October 1, 1896, free rural delivery of mail started in the United States.
October 4, 1957, the first artificial satellite was launched by the Soviet Union.
October 5, 1947, the first presidential telecast address from the White House was made by Harry S. Truman.
October 7, 1816, the Washington (first double-decked steamboat) arrived at New Orleans.
October 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus landed in America.
October 18, 1867, The U.S. flag was formally raised over Alaska.
October 22, 1836, Sam Houston was inaugurated as the first president of the Republic of Texas.
October 31, 1864, Nevada became the 36th state of the United States.
More significant and historical dates in October can be found here.
2. Halloween Means Hallowed Evening
The holiday of Halloween originates from the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain and has evolved since. The ancient Celtic people used to mark the day to celebrate the end of harvest season and winter’s beginning. Halloween also was viewed as the transitional period, a bridge to the world of the dead.
It was a misconception from Evangelical Christians that Halloween was based on Satanic practices because of its pagan roots. The ancient Celts had no concept of Satan, nor did they worship anything resembling the Christian Devil or Lucifer.
3. Oktoberfest Is Held for 16 Days
Oktoberfest is a 16-day festival going from late September to the first weekend in October.
Oktoberfest began when Prince Ludwig of Bavaria wanted to celebrate his marriage to princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen, with his people. This was on October 12, 1810. Ludwig had horse races and invited all of the people of Munich.
Then, in 1811, an agricultural show was added to the horse races to boost the Bavarian agriculture. The horse races are no longer held today, however the Agricultural Show is still held every three years. In 1818 the first carousel and two swings were set up, along with small beer stands that would grow rapidly in number as the years went on. In 1896 the beer stands were replaced with the first beer tents and even beer halls.
Here are some interesting facts about Oktoberfest from Info Please:
In 1997, Oktoberfesters consumed more than 5 ½ million liters of beer, about 45,000 liters of wine, and almost 165,000 liters of nonalcoholic beer.
The local name for Oktoberfest, “Wies’n,” is derived from Theresienwiese, the name of the field on which the festival is held.
The festival halls in Munich can seat 94,000 people.
The beers that the Munich breweries produce specially for Oktoberfest contain 4.5 percent alcohol.
Cincinnati, Ohio, which claims to hold the “largest authentic Oktoberfest” in the U.S., draws about 500,000 people to its celebration.
4. October Hosts a Multitude of Other Holidays & Celebrations
The official kickoff to October as Italian-American Heritage Month will take place on Oct. 1: http://t.co/kYzSmEiAMy
— Bostoniano.info (@bostoniano_info) September 26, 2014
While October’s most prominent holidays are Halloween and Oktoberfest, it is host to a multitude of other holidays, events and celebrations. These include:
Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, Apple Jack Month, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Computer Learning Month, Cookie Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Eat Country Ham Month, Lupus Awareness Month, National Pizza Month, National Vegetarian Month, National Popcorn Popping Month, Sarcastic Month and Seafood Month.
Some other holidays include: Yom Kippur, Columbus Day, Child Health Day, National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sep 15 through Oct 15), Italian American Heritage Month, Polish American Heritage Month, National Dessert Month, Country Music Month, and National Book Fair Month
5. October Is the Time for These Favorite Traditions
There’s quite a bit to look forward to in October, including:
— GAP Promotions (@GAP_Promotions) September 23, 2014
The Simpsons: Tree House of Horror:
Charlie Brown’s The Great Pumpkin:
And of course, Horror Movies: