Dates to Celebrate in August and September

1st August – Ramadan begins

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Muslims believe Ramadan to be an auspicious month for the revelations of God to humankind, being the month in which the first verses of the Qur’an were revealed to the Islamic prophet, Mohammad.

Ramadan is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating and drinking between dawn and sunset, and offer up more prayer than usual. This is intended to teach patience, humility, and spirituality. Compared to the solar calendar, the dates of Ramadan vary, moving backwards by about eleven days each year, depending on the moon. In this way, in thirty-four years a person will have fasted every day of the calendar year.

7th August – Lammas

Lammas is a Celtic fire festival, marking the peak of summer, the halfway point between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox. The name means “the feast of the first bread” (Loaf Mass), and celebrates the beginning of the grain harvest, which runs from Lammas until about the Autumn Equinox. This was a time when, traditionally, the whole community came together to bring in the harvest. This tradition is the reason why so many legal and academic holidays take place now.

10th August – St Lawrence’s Day

St Lawrence Church in Sheepwash is named after one of the seven deacons appointed by the Christian church in Rome during the time of Pope Sixtus (AD 258–276). He was responsible for collecting donations and distributing them to people in need.

Under the Emperor Valerian, the church came under attack, and Lawrence was ordered by the Prefect of Rome to hand over the church’s treasures. In response, he assembled the poor of the city, among whom he had shared the church’s possessions. He presented them to the Prefect, saying, “These are the treasures of the church”. This act of defiance led directly to his martyrdom. He was executed by being burned or roasted on a gridiron. St Lawrence is the patron saint of the poor, and is also invoked by librarians, archivists, cooks, and tanners.

12th August – The Glorious Twelfth

The Glorious Twelfth marks the start of the shooting season for red grouse and ptarmigan. It is one of the busiest days in the shooting season, with large amounts of game being shot. The date itself is traditional, but not all game have the same start to their open seasons – most begin on September 1st, with October 1st for woodcock and pheasant.

29th August – Bank Holiday

Celebrate the waning of summer with the last Bank Holiday of the year before Christmas.

11th September – Anniversary of the infamous “9/11” attack in 2001

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attack which destroyed the Twin Towers in New York.

23rd September – Autumn equinox

The Autumn Equinox is when you can feel the seasons change. Day and night are in balance, and from now on the nights will grow longer than the days, the sun will be lower in the sky, and the shadows will grow longer. It is also a time to celebrate the harvest, to take stock, and to build reserves for winter.

29th September – Michaelmas Day and Rosh Hashanah

Michaelmas is a traditional quarter day, when rents were paid and accounts settled. Many academic and legal institutions refer to the period from September to December as the Michaelmas term

Rosh Hashanah (literally “head of the year”) is the Jewish New Year. It is celebrated as a day of rest, like the Sabbath, and meals usually include apples and honey, to symbolise a sweet new year.

Chris Bell

August 2011 (Fete Special issue)