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August Holidays Asterisks appear next to saints' names - see Celebrating Saints

August 15 Feast of the Assumption

On St Mary’s Day, sunshine
Brings much good wine.
Traditional weather proverb for today, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Roman Catholic tradition

On Lady Day the latter,
The cold comes on the water.
English traditional proverb

Very early on, the Catholic church chose August 15th (which would be the full moon of August if the new moon fell (as it did when the months were lunar) on the first of the month) to honor the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was proclaimed a holiday throughout the Roman Empire by Emperor Maurice around 600 in the East, and about 50 years later in the West. The story of Mary's Assumption derives from ancient stories called the Obsequies of the Holy Virgin, which were written in Syria at the beginning of the third century (or about 150 years after the event they relate). The story of "The Departure of My Lady Mary from this World" tells how Mary was lifted up into Heaven bodily, in other words, she did not die, but became immortal. In honor of this event, the Apostles proclaimed a holiday in her honor which is explicitly connected with the very crops which Artemis and Hecate were invoked to protect at the full moon of August:

And the apostles also ordered that there should be a commemoration of the Blessed One on the thirteenth Ab (August), on account of the vines bearing bunches of grapes and on account of the trees bearing fruit, that clouds of hail, bearing stones of wrath, might not come, and the trees be broken and the vines with their clusters.

Mary's Assumption supposedly took place at Ephesus, where she was living under the care of the apostle, John. Ephesus was one of the most famous sanctuaries of Artemis, the home of the famous statue of Artemis with many breasts, symbolizing the productive and nurturing powers of the earth. Mary, who is also well known for her nurturing and protecting qualities (she is so tender-hearted she cannot deny any sincere request for help), was clearly carrying this role.

Because of her assumption into heaven, she is the patron of airplane pilots and crews. The Greek Orthodox Church has kept the older name of the feast, the Dormition, which means Falling Asleep, which perhaps makes her the patron of narcoleptics. The Assumption may reflect the earlier legends about the Virgin associated with the constellation Virgo (see August 23) who ascended into Heaven out of disgust for the moral decay of the world (see the poem at the front of the month by Spenser).

As early as the 10th century, the aroma of herbs and flowers was associated with Mary's victory over death and people brought medicinal herbs and plants to church (periwinkle, verbena, thyme) to be incensed and blessed, bound into a sheaf and kept all year to ward off illness, disaster and death. Naogeorgus, a Protestant sceptic who wrote many scathing poems about Popish rituals, had this to say about the Assumption:

The blessed virgin Mary's feast, hath here his place and time
Wherein departing from the earth, she did the heavens climb:
Great bundles then of herbs to Church, the people fast do bear,
The which against all hurtful things, the Priest doth hallow there.
Thus kindle they and nourish still, the peoples' wickedness
And vainly make them to believe, whatever they express:
For sundry witchcrafts, by these herbs are wrought and diverse charms.
And cast into the fire, are thought to drive away all harms,
And ever painful grief from man, or beast for to expel
Far otherwise than nature, or the word of God does tell.

In central Europe, this was called Our Lady's Herb Day. Gertrud Mueller Nelson tells about how her mother kept the holiday alive by taking her daughters on walks, gathering wild grasses, a custom I've adopted in Seattle. It's amazing how many kinds of wild grass grow on my city block.

Nelson also describes making a special feast for her family on Assumption consisting of food from her own garden, served on a table set with bouquets of garden flowers and herbs. She finds prayers and readings about Mother earth, including anthropological descriptions of people at one with nature and in love with the earth. The meal ends with several rounds of Salve, Regina, a rousing Catholic hymn to the Queen of Heaven. For music and lyrics, go to:
www.oremus.org/hymnal/h/h013.html

At the community celebration at her church, a special bread is served that is filled with seeds in honor of the fruitfulness of the season: sunflower seeds, soaked wheat berries, poppy seeds, some anise and fennel and maybe even cardamom.

When in 1950, Pope Pius XII proclaimed the dogma of the Assumption, the belief that Mary had been taken up to heaven, there was great consternation. How naïve! How medieval! But Carl Jung understood that this proclamation was one of the most important religious events since the Reformation. It brought the image of the divine feminine back into the light. The Queen of Heaven was being acknowledged once again and given her right place. The masculine Trinity had become a feminine Quaternity. This event preceded the women's liberation movement and the renewal of Goddess worship.

The flower of this holiday is the fragrant virgin's bower (clematis virginiana).

This was the start of Our Lady's 30 Days, a time when animals and plants lost their harmful qualities and all food was wholesome, which ran until September 15th, about the same time as the constellation Virgo is honored in the zodiac. This period of benevolence coincides with the seven weeks following the full moon of the Jewish month of Av, which were called the Weeks of Comfort . The readings for these weeks are comforting, promising peace and prosperity. They also echo the sense of relief following the dangerous period of the Dog Days which end around August 11th.

Nelson, Gertrud Mueller, To Dance With God: Family Ritual and Community Celebration, Paulist Press 1986
Urlin, Ethel L, Festivals,
Holy Days and Saints' Days: A Study in Origins and Survivals in Church Ceremonies and Secular Customs, republished by Gale Research 1979
Warner, Marina,
Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary, Vintage 1983
Waskow, Arthur,
Seasons of Our Joy: A Modern Guide to the Jewish Holidays, Beacon 1982

August 15 Dormition/Kimesis
In Greece, the Assumption, usually called the Dormition or Kimesis (Sleeping), is the most important of the summer holidays, during a month devoted to Mary. Icons depict Mary dead on a bier, with Christ behind her, holding her soul in his arms like an infant.

Patricia Storace's friend Stamatis has a cynical and fascinating view of the political ramifications of this holiday.

…This holiday is about the death of woman as goddess, and the appropriation of her divinity by Christ, who becomes a greater mother than his mother, the male mother who gives immortal life, the great gift men waited in vain for women to give, holding his own infant mother in his arms. You can find this appropriation of womanhood in the sacraments—in holy communion, for instance, when Christ's flesh and blood become food, previously the magic of the female mother. But her milk nourishes children who will die, and his blood, replacing her milk, gives immortal life to those who drink it. And baptism, in which the child is reborn, with even the new amniotic fluid of holy water, through a man. Christ, the divine transvestite, is the mother who makes the child live forever. This is why the Orthodox Church—and the Roman—are so vehemently opposed to women priests. It destroys the magic substitution they made to obtain immortal life… If a creature who can become pregnant touches the flesh of Christ, she will render his body mortal, the old failure of her pagan divinity may corrupt his, and return him to manhood from deity, as she was returned to womanhood from deity...

Storace debates about where to celebrate the Kimesis, the island of Kefallonia, where in one village dozens of snakes, called "the snakes of the Virgin," slither over the icons, the offerings and the congregation or ceremonies in other parts of Greece where the Dormition is celebrated like Easter with funeral ceremonies and processions for Mary, like those marking Christ's death at Easter. She decides to take a ferry to Militini. In the lounge on the way there, the radio announcer is listing the praises of the Virgin:

She has been the fellow warrior and benefactress of our race, the holy guide and the sweetly kissing one during our struggles and suffering, the tender mother and the fierce defender of whoever needs her. We call her the Guide, the Sweetly Kissing One, the Life Giver, the Portrait, the Athenian Woman, the Woman of the Sea, the Panegyriotissa, the Virgin of the Festivals, the Peoniotissa, the Virgin of the Melons, when her church is near melon pathces, the Virgin of the Cold Waters, when her church is near a spring. But whatever name we call her, she is the mother of Greece and of the Greek people.

Storace, Patricia, Dinner with Persephone, Pantheon 1996

rry, Caroline, Let’s Celebrate, Toronto: Kids Can Play Press 1987, pp. 186-7.

August 15 St Mary's Feast of Harvest
In Scotland, the date of Mary's Assumption is known as St Mary's Feast of Harvest. A special bannock is made from ears of new corn which are dried in the sun, husked by hand, ground with stones, kneaded on a sheepskin, made into a cake and baked on a fire of magical rowan wood. Each member of the family eats a piece of the bannock in order by age and all walk sunwise around the fire. The embers are gathered into a pot and carried sunwise around the farm and field while saying this charm:

I went sunways around my dwelling
In the name of Mother Mary
Who promised to preserve me
Who did protect me
Who will preserve me
In peace, in flocks, in righteousness of heart
Carmina Gadelica

Carmichael, Alexander, Carmina Gadelica, Floris Books 2001

August 15 Our Lady of the Navigators
In Brazil, this holiday honors the Virgin Mary as Our Lady of the Navigators. Decorated canoes containing musicians travel through the waterways between villages, providing entertainment and accepting contributions.

The maritime element of the festival also shows up in the Maritime provinces of Canada where the priest blesses the decorated boats of the fleet as they sail past the dock.

Milne, Jean, Fiesta Time in Latin America, Los Angeles: The Ward Ritchie Press 1965, p. 132.
Pa

August 16 Il Palio
In Sienna, the blessing of Il Palio, a banner bearing the image of the Madonna del Voto, inaugurates a day of activities which includes a procession and a horse race in the city streets. A similar race takes place on July 2 for the Palio of the Madonna di Provenzano.

Blackburn, Bonnie & Leofranc Holford-Strevens, The Oxford Companion to the Year, Oxford University Press 1999

August 16 St Roch/Festival for Dogs
A travelling pilgrim he contracted the plague and was succored by his dog who brought him food in the forest. Thus the dog is his symbol. During the Middle Ages he was invoked against the plague, and also by all those suffering from skin diseases. In Calabria, people offer up ex-votos of panpepat, spicy bread shaped like parts of the body that need healing. In Tarija, Bolivia, dogs are invited to join in the festivities at the San Roque fiesta.

For more information on St Roch, I recommend the website, Saints Preserved, which offers icons and spirit stones for St. Roch, along with links to other websites which offer information about him, including the concept that he might be the original figure for the Fool in the Tarot deck.

Attwater, Donald, Dictionary of Saints, Penguin 1965
Blackburn, Bonnie & Leofranc Holford-Strevens,
The Oxford Companion to the Year, Oxford University Press 1999
Field, Carol,
Celebrating Italy, Morrow 1990
Rufus, Anneli,
The World Holiday Book, Harper San Francisco 1994

August 16 Full Moon in Aquarius, Eclipse
This partial eclipse of the moon is visible over a wide area including Africa, Antarctica, Australia, Asia and most of Europe.

Jim Maynard’s Pocket Astrologer 2008

August 16 Hera's Footrace
The full moon of Metageitnion was the occasion for a race honoring Hera. Women competed in this race which predated the Olympics. The prize was the office of chief priestess, who may have overseen the water rites performed at this time of the year.

August 16 Chung Yuan, Moon of the Hungry Ghosts
The Chinese honor the dead on the fifteenth day (full moon) of the 7th lunar month. At twilight, boys light lanterns made of lotus leaves (with candles inserted in the deep hollow of the leaf so they make a beautiful glow through the green leaf) and go through the streets singing:

Lotus-leaf candles! Lotus-leaf candles!
Today you are lighted. Tomorrow thrown away.

Another decoration, called an artemisia lantern, is made from artemisia plants which are rolled into ropes of glutinous incense and lit, so they gleam like moving fireflies (from the description I would guess these are much like braided sweetgrass). Merchants decorate their shops with colored paper cut-outs of lotus blossoms, lotus leaves, flower baskets, herons and egrets, which they call lotus-flower lanterns.

Special customs help out spirits who are homeless, who have no descendents to pray for them, or who drowned and therefore have no resting place. In Buddhist temples, people make "a boat of Buddhist law," sometimes thirty or forty feet long, out of paper, which will carry them across the sea of want, hunger, thirst and torment and enable them to reach Nirvana. The boat is burned in the evening. Li-Chen notes that this festival was made popular by Amogha Vajra who came to china from northern India in 719.

Each Buddhist temple forms a Yu Lan society which lights lanterns and recites sutras for the wandering souls. Offerings are set out with different kinds fruit, which were said to nurture virtue. In Peking, people went to the Grand Canal to watch the members of one Yu Lan Society perform various entertainments, like stilt walking or lion dances. During the evening, lanterns were lit and set adrift on the waters, while pepole walked along the banks carrying lotus lanterns.

Li-chen, Tun, translated by Derk Bodde, Annual Customs and Festivals in Peking, Peking: Henri Vetch 1936

August 16 Artemis-Diana
The full moon festival of August is one of the most ancient, continuously celebrated festivals in honor of the Goddess. It was first mentioned by the Greeks who honored Hecate and Artemis on the 15th day of Metageitnion. The goddesses were invoked and beseech for protection from summer storms, which could flatten and destroy the crops standing in the fields, ready for harvest. Garlic was left on stones as an offering to Hecate at crossroads, places where three roads meet. Hecate is usually pictured holding two torches, one pointed up and one pointed down. She mediates between the worlds.

In Rome, the Greek lunar calendar was placed on the fixed solar calendar on August 13 and called the Nemoralia, which would be the full moon if the new moon coincided with the first of the month. Not very much later, the Catholic church chose August 15th as the holiday for honoring the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The date was chosen to coincide with the thirteenth of Ab, the Jewish lunar month.

August 17 Cat Nights
Someone thought that cats deserved their own month-long holiday after the Dog Days and decided that this was the starting date for it. Makes sense to me.

August 17 Portunalia
An obscure Roman festival associated with the harbor god Portunus, whose symbol was the key. He may have been a god of gates, or the keys that secure grain storehouses. Until AD 17, this was also the dedication day of Janus's temple.

Considering the value of stored grain, which is both food in winter and seed for spring, it makes sense that blessing the keys or transporting the grain to the storehouse at harvest time would become a sacred ritual.

August 17 Blessing of the Grapes
In Armenia, the blessing of the Grapes takes place on the Sunday closest to the Assumption (they coincide this year). No grapes are eaten until today when they are taken to church to be blessed, then distributed to the churchgoers when they leave. Women named Mary have parties in vineyards or their homes (because this is considered their name day--as in many cultures, the saint's day associated with your name is celebrated like a birthday).

Spicer, Dorothy Gladys, The Book of Festivals, The Women's Press 1937


August 18 St Helena*
On Old British legends say that Helena was the daughter of Old King Cole and married the British officer, Constantine, who later became Emperor of Rome, For political reasons, he repudiated her and married Theodora, the daughter-in-law of the previous Emperor Maximilian. When Helena's son, Constantine, became Emperor and Christian, she too converted. She sponsored several excavations looking for the Holy Cross. Supposedly she also located the crosses on which the good and bad thieves were crucified which means she can be invoked for help in discovering thieves.

This is a name day feast for anyone named Ellen or Helene or any variation of those names.

Attwater, Donald, Dictionary of Saints, Penguin 1965
Rufus, Anneli,
The World Holiday Book, Harper San Francisco 1994

August 19 Vinalia Rustica
This was the second or rustic Vinalia, when the priests plucked the year's first ripe grapes and asked Jupiter to protect the growing vines. Houses and gardens were dedicated to Venus. It's interesting that it falls so close to the Blessing of the Grapes, done under the auspices of Mary. Venus was invoked with this prayer, "I beseech Minerva and Venus, of whom one protects the olive yard and the other the garden." It was celebrated as a holiday for all vintners and kitchen gardeners and a time for picnicking outdoors.

It was also the dedication day of the temple of Venus Libitina, which was the headquarters for Roman undertakers and the poor people's burial ground, which also became a gathering place for undesirables.

Blackburn, Bonnie & Leofranc Holford-Strevens, The Oxford Companion to the Year, Oxford University Press 1999
Farias, Helen, Calendar Notes,
The Beltane Papers 1993
Rufus, Anneli,
The World Holiday Book, Harper San Francisco 1994

August 19 St Sebald
An obscure saint who is the patron of Nuremberg. In one legend, he tells a peasant woman to throw icicles in the fire because there is no fuel. Thus he is invoked during cold spells.

Blackburn, Bonnie & Leofranc Holford-Strevens, The Oxford Companion to the Year, Oxford University Press 1999

August 20 St Philbert
This saint, a famous French abbot who died in 684, gave his name to the nut which ripens around the time of his feast day: the filbert.

Celebrate by eating nuts today, or by going out to find what's ripening on the trees in your neighborhood.

American Heritage Dictionary. Fourth Edition, Houghton Mifflin 2000.

August 20 Hera Thelkinia
On the 20th day of the lunar month of Metageitnion, the Greeks celebrated this festival in honor of Hera as Thelkinia, which some translate as the Charmer and others as the Enchanter.

August 21 Consualia
The summer Consualia of Consus. He's the god of good counsel, secret deliberation, stored (conserved harvests) of the grain and the underworld.

The altar of Consus was buried underground in Rome, since he ruled the subterranean world (where grain was stored — see Portunalia, August 17). The altar was uncovered twice a year, once in August for the harvest, and again on December 19th, and the high priest of the god Quirinus made a sacrifice.

This was also a holiday for horses and other beasts of burden who did not have to work today. Instead they were decorated with flowers and raced in the Circus Maximus.

Farias, Helen, Calendar Notes, The Beltane Papers 1993
Rufus, Anneli,
The World Holiday Book, Harper San Francisco 1994

August 22 Queenship of Mary
In 1942, Pope Pius XII proclaimed this day in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and in 1945 he established this holiday of devotion to Mary in her compassionate aspect. Both were acts of spiritual warfare, designed to pose Mary and Catholicism as supreme weapons in the battle against godless Communism.

In 1954, the same Pope, who was clearly a Mary worshipper (see the Assumption, August 15) proclaimed Mary the Queen of Heaven, honoring her with the title once associated with Isis. Interesting that this all happened the day before the Sun enters Virgo, the constellation that honors the Divine Feminine.

Hoever, Reverend Hugo, Lives of the Saints, Catholic Book Publishing Company 1955
Warner, Marina,
Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary, Vintage 1983

August 23 Sun enters Virgo
Virgo is one of the biggest constellations of our solar system, and represents the harvest goddess presiding over the sky at the time of shooting stars, vacations, heat waves and the grain harvest.

According to Allen, Eratosthenes and Avicennus identified Virgo with Isis, holding the young Horus, or the wheat ears that she dropped to form the Milky Way. Neumann believed that Inanna was the grain goddess depicted by the stars. Virgo was known in the Attic dialect as Kore, the Maiden. In Ionia, she was called Spicifera Virgo Ceres, the Wheat-Bearing Maiden.

Depictions of the constellation Virgo show a woman holding an ear of wheat in one hand and a palm branch in the other. In the sky, she is flanked by two serpents (Hydra and Ophiuchus), so it's possible the famous relief of Demeter is an image of Virgo rising.

The constellation was known by many other names including Persephone, Demeter and Ceres (the confusion of these names is not surprising since Demeter and her daughter were sometimes called the Two Goddesses and seen as doubles of each other). She was also known as Arista, Harvest or Arista Puella, the Maiden of the Harvest.

The brightest star in the constellation is Spica, ear of corn, which is found by following the curve of the Dipper through Arcturus (the first bright star after dusk, overhead); at the end of the arc on the southern horizon is Spica.

In August, the constellation sets in the west just after sunset. Helen Farias writes:

Though invisible during the sunny hours, she peers down upon the earth during the hot days of August First Fruits, showing herself in the cool evening, slipping quietly into the western sea.

Allen, Richard Hinckley, Star Names, Dover 1963
Neumann,
The Great Mother, Bollingen, Princeton University Press 1955

August 23 St Rose of Lima
The first saint of the America,s, this young girl was called Rose after the flowers she grew in her childhood. She became a recluse living in a hut in her parents' garden, and wore a crown of thorns. She is the patron saint of South America, the Philippines and florists.

Blackburn, Bonnie & Leofranc Holford-Strevens, The Oxford Companion to the Year, Oxford University Press 1999

August 23 Vulcanalia
A Roman fire festival of goddesses Juturna (goddess of fountains) and Stata Mater (goddess who puts out fires) invoked along with Vulcan to control his fires. Z Budapest suggests protecting your house by taking a small bottle of good brandy and pouring it around the house clockwise, asking the goddesses to keep fires away from your home.

Budapest, Z, Grandmother of Time, Harper & Row 1979

St Helena
St Helena

August 24 St Bartholomew
One of the twelve apostles, according to legend, he was martyred by being flayed alive. This explains why he is the patron saint of butchers and leather-workers, although not why he is also the patron of plasterers. My friend Pandora likes to serve vanilla pudding on his feast day to represent the plaster, although Bartholomew was usually honored with pork dishes. His symbol is the butcher's knife. In Bologna, August 24, is the Feast of the Pig and a pig is carried through the streets, roasted and distributed to the waiting crowds.

There was a famous fair at Smithfield in London on St Bartholomew's Day, which featured conspicuous consumption of ale and pork. Apparently it was fairly licentious, judging by this statement from Brathwait, Whimzies 117 (1631):

No season through all the yeere accounts hee more subject to abhomination than Bartholomew faire: Their Drums, Hobbihorses, Rattles, Babies, Iewtrumps, nay Pigs and all, are wholly Iudaicall. The very Booths are Brothells of iniquity, and distinguished by the stamp of the Beast.

This was also a day for weather oracles.

If Bartlemas Day be fine and clear
You may hope for a prosperous autumn that year.

Some say it brings the cooler autumn weather, as in this proverb "St Bartholomew brings the cold dew." Some say he ends the forty days of rain presaged by a wet St Swithin's (see July 14).

Attwater, Donald, Dictionary of Saints, Penguin 1965
Blackburn, Bonnie & Leofranc Holford-Strevens, The Oxford Companion to the Year, Oxford University Press 1999
Field, Carol,
Celebrating Italy, Morrow 1990
Kightly, Charles,
The Perpetual Almanack of Folklore, Thames & Hudson 1987

August 25 Opiconsivia
A Roman harvest festival in honor of Ops Consiva, the old Italian goddess of fertility, who was the mate of Consus (see August 21). Her name means Wealth from Planting.

Worshippers invoked her by touching the ground. Her altars were, and should be today, heaped with flowers, wine and fresh-baked bread. She is both a goddess of sowing and reaping. From her name, we derive the word opulent. Her medieval name was Habondia or Abundance.

Farias, Helen, Calendar Notes, The Beltane Papers, 1992

August 25 Detectives Day
This holiday commemorates the birth of Allan Pinkerton in 1819.
I rarely acknowledge secular holidays but I couldn't resist this one. Perhaps because I've just finished writing a detective novel or just because it seems like a good excuse for going out and doing some detecting.

Read Harriet the Spy again or go out and write down the conversation of the people sitting next to you at the coffee shop or look for your first boyfriend on the Internet.

Blackburn, Bonnie & Leofranc Holford-Strevens, The Oxford Companion to the Year, Oxford University Press 1999

August 25 St Genesius of Arles and St Genesius the Actor
According to his ancient acts, Genesius was a shorthand writer at Arles in Gaul who refused to take down an imperial edict against Christians because he was one. He is the patron saint of secretaries.

There is another St Genesius who is the patron of actors. Supposedly during an entertainment given for Diocletian, he played the part of a Christian being baptized and experienced a real conversion. When he revealed this, he was martyred. The same story is told of three other actor martyrs and is undoubtedly fictitious. It's interesting that the Greek festival of Genesia, a state festival in honor of the dead, often falls around this time (September 19 this year).

Attwater, Donald, Dictionary of Saints, Penguin 1965

August 27 Volturnalia
The Ancient Romans honored a god on this day who was sometimes identified as the Sirocco (wind) and sometimes as a river in Campania.

Blackburn, Bonnie & Leofranc Holford-Strevens, The Oxford Companion to the Year, Oxford University Press 1999

August 28 Sun and Moon
On this day, the ancient Romans celebrated the dedication of the temple of the Sun and the Moon. In later times, games were held in their honor.

Blackburn, Bonnie & Leofranc Holford-Strevens, The Oxford Companion to the Year, Oxford University Press 1999

August 29 Beheading of St John/Salome's Day
The story says that John the Baptist condemned the marriage of Herod to his brother's wife and was thrown into prison as a result. During Herod's birthday party, Salome, the daughter of his new wife, performed a graceful dance which so pleased Herod that he offered her anything she wanted. Encouraged by her mother, she asked for the head of John the Baptist.

Barbara Walker suggests that Salome was performing the Dance of the Seven Veils as part of a sacred drama, depicting the death of the surrogate-king, his descent into the underworld, and his retrieval by the goddess, who sheds her seven garments at each of the seven underworld gates, thus making John the Baptist a ritual sacrifice, or a representative of the dying and reborn lover of the Goddess.

St Bartholomew
St Bartholomew

August 30 St Fiacre
An Irish hermit who went to France in the seventh century, he was known for his misogyny which is why he is the patron of sufferers from venereal diseases, and for his passion for gardening, which is why he is the patron saint of gardeners. He became the patron saint of taxi drivers simply because the stand for hired carriages in Paris was near the Hotel Saint-Fiacre. He is also invoked by those suffering from hemorrhoids, and there is a stone in Brittany which supposedly bears the imprint of his buttocks on which sufferers sit to be cured. According to Tobias Smollett, the English King Henry V, who died of piles, got them after sacking a Scottish chapel dedicated to Saint Fiacre, and thus complained that he was not only plagued by living Scots but also by dead ones. For more on St Fiacre, see www.saintspreserved.com

Blackburn, Bonnie & Leofranc Holford-Strevens, The Oxford Companion to the Year, Oxford University Press 1999

August 30 New Moon in Virgo
This new moon is the start of the Greek lunar month of Boedromion, the Jewish lunar month of Elul and the eighth Chinese lunation. In China, it is called the Harvest Moon.

St Fiacre
St Fiacre

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