Welcome to November, the month of dreary rain, gunpowder plots, beheadings, doom, and gloom!
Or so it would seem, according to history.
The word ‘November’ comes from the Latin word novem meaning nine because November was once the ninth month of the year (in the Roman calendar.) Today, of course, in the Gregorian Calendar, November is the eleventh month of the year, as well as one of only four months with 30 days in it. If you happen to have been born in November, your star sign is either Scorpio (November 1 – 21) or Sagittarius (November 22 – 30). Your birth stone is the topaz, and your flower would be the chrysanthemum. Scorpios are also known to have “a sting in their tale.”
If your birthday is November 2nd, you would share it with Marie-Antoinette, Queen of France, who was born in 1755 and was famous for her ‘let them eat cake’ line. She also later lost her head – literally. A sad end.
All Saints’ Day, which is a Christian holiday, is observed on November 1, the day after Halloween. In Sweden the official All Saints’ Day holiday takes place on the first Saturday in November. In the old Japanese calendar, this month is called Shimo tsuki. In Finnish, November is called marraskuu, which depressingly means “month of the dead.”
Of course, the weather doldrums connected to the month of November, do not apply everywhere. It depends where in the world you live. In Australia, for instance, the weather would be warm, and the Melbourne Cup horse race is held annually on the first Tuesday in November.
Other interesting events this month include elections in the United States held on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November, so they can fall anywhere between November 2 and November 8. Americans also celebrate Thanksgiving this month on the fourth Thursday of November.
In Britain and New Zealand, Newfoundland, Canada, some parts of America and formerly in Australia, Guy Fawkes night is celebrated on November 5, which was the anniversary of a failed Gunpowder Plot in England in 1605 to blow up parliament. Today, it is a night of fireworks, bonfires, and goodies, rather like Halloween.
And we also have Remembrance Day on November 11 each year – the date on which we honor all those who fought for our freedom in past wars and continue to do in our current world.
In Mexico and Portugal November 2 is called Dia de Muertos meaning the Day of the Dead! Another depressing connection to the month of November.
However, in 1945, November 2, was declared World Community Day whenever it falls on a Friday; a day when the whole world should pray for peace. And that is not a bad thing to do on any day of the year.
It’s also a good way to close the November Blues.