01 July 2013


“As the fifth month in the old Roman year, this was called Quintilis, or fifth.  It was the birth-month of Julius Caesar, and after his death Mark Antony named it Julius in his honor.  In the old Alban calendar it had thirty-six days.  Romulus reduced the number to thirty-one, and Numa to thirty, but Julius Caesar again made it thirty-one.  The early Saxons called it Hegmonath, it being the month in which they usually mowed and made their hay-harvest.”     William Walsh, Curiosities of Popular Customs (1898) p. 586.

Astronomy for July: Full Buck Moon on the 22nd.

Meteor Shower: The Delta Aquarids start in mid-July and peak around the 30th.  This year, the waning moon will not have waned enough by the end of July to make viewing easy, but EarthSky says to keep watching through early August.  It will be easier to see the meteors (and the start-up of the Perseids) as we get closer to the New Moon on August 6th.  Look south in the pre-dawn hours.

July is dedicated to The Precious Blood of Jesus

Liturgical Celebrations
Blessed Junipero Serra………   1 July
St. Elizabeth of Portugal……..  4 July (Canada), 5 July (USA), 8 July (traditional calendar)
Saint Maria Goretti …………   6 July
Translation of Saint Benedict    11 July
Saint Henry ………………..    13 July (15 July, traditional)
Saint Bonaventure .………....   14 July (traditional; 15 July new calendar)
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha ……  14 July
Our Lady of Mount Carmel…  16 July 
Saint Mary Magdalene ……..   22 July
Saint Bridget of Sweden …...    23 July
Saint James the Greater …….   25 July
Saints Joachim & Anne …….   26 July
Saint Martha ………………     29 July
Saint Ignatius of Loyola ……   31 July
Novenas for July
Saint Maria Goretti …………. Continues from 27 June
Holy Face of Jesus …………. begins 3 July (St. Veronica)
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha …….begins 5 July (in USA)
Our Lady of Mount Carmel … begins 7 July
Saint Vincent De Paul ……… begins 10 July (traditional calendar)
Saint Anne ………………….. begins 17 July, also here
Saint Martha ………………... begins 20 July, also here and here
Saint Peter Julian Eymard ….. begins 24 July
Transfiguration ……………... begins 28 July
Saint Dominic ………………. begins 30 July
Saint John Marie Vianney …... begins 30 July (traditional; 26 July in the new calendar)

Weather for July
According to the Twelve Days of Christmas: Mostly cloudy and cool.
According to the first twelve days of January: Mostly sunny and warm.
According to the Ember Days: Mostly cloudy, warm, and humid.

Weather Lore:
As July is, so will be next January
[does this refer to extreme weather? If it is really hot in July it will be correspondingly cold in January? Because, trust me, while I may want July weather in January, it doesn't happen.]

Never trust a July sky. [Indeed!  It might look beautifully clear in one direction, but turn around and notice those massing cloudbanks]

It never rains at night in July.

Rain in the third hour of a July afternoon is the heaviest of the year.

The first Friday in July is always wet.

A shower of rain in July is worth a plough of oxen.

When July alternates between rain and sunshine, the harvest will be abundant.

July thunder indicates that the wheat and barley will suffer harm [especially if accompanied by heavy winds and hail]
On the other hand
Thunder in July signifieth the same year shall be good corn, and loss of beasts.

If there is a tempest in July, the corn will be blighted with mildew.

7/1 - If it rains between the first and the fourth of July, it will rain for forty days.
        If the first of July be rainy weather, it will rain more or less for four weeks together.

        If it rains on July 1st, it will rain seventeen days in the month.

        If it rains on July 1st, there will be no grapes that year.

7/2 - If it rains on St. Mary's Day, it will rain, off and on, for four weeks.

        If it rains on St. Mary's Day, it will last until St. Mary Magdalene (July 22)

        If it rains on the feast of Saint Processus and Martinian, there will be great rain storms and hail.

        If it rains on the feast of Saint Processus and Martinian, it suffocates the corn.

7/3 - As the Dog Days commence, so they end.

        If it rains on the first Dog-Day, it will rain for forty days after [or for thirty days after.  Take your pick]

         Dog Days bright and clear, indicate a happy year.
        But when accompanied by rain, we hope for better times in vain.

7/4 - If Bullion's Day be dry, there will be a good and early harvest.

        If the deer rise up dry and lie down dry on Bullion's day, there will be a good harvest.

        If it rains on Bullion's Day, it will rain for forty days.

        If it rains on the fourth of July, there will be no grapes that year.

7/6 - The weather on St. Godelieve's day foretells the weather of the next six weeks.

         If it rains on St. Godelieve, it will rain for forty days.

         If it rains on St. Godelieve, the Lord is blessing the vegetable garden.

7/7 - Rain today means rain for the next four weeks.

7/10 - If it rains on July 10th, it will rain for seven weeks.

          As the weather is on the Feast of the Seven Brothers, so will it be for seven weeks.

7/11 – If it rains on St. Benedict’s day, it will rain for forty days.

7/15 - Saint Swithin's Day, if thou dost rain, for forty days it will remain
           Saint Swithin's Day, if thou be fair, for forty days will rain no more.

          If on St. Swithin's day it proves fair, a temperate winter will follow; but if it is rainy, stormy, or windy, then the contrary.

         If it rains today, Saint Swithin is christening the apples, and the early sorts can be picked.

7/20 - If St. Margaret's Day be dry, God will give us a fine autumn.

7/21 - If it rains on the 21st, we will have fair weather following.

7/21 – Mary Magdalene weeps for her Lord
           That is why it rains these days.

7/25 - As the weather is on Saint James' Day, so it will be on Christmas Day.

          If St. James' day is clear, then Christmas will be cold and frosty [that's a pretty good bet, either way].

          On St. James' day, the weather before noon foretells the winter before Christmas, and the weather after noon foretells the winter after Christmas.  If the sun shines, there will be cold weather; if it rains, there will be warm and moist weather; if it is between the two, it will be neither too warm nor too cold.

7/26 - If it rains on St. Ann's Day, it will rain for a month and a week [however, some people call the rain on this day "Saint Ann's Dower" and consider it a good thing].

          If on St. Anne’s day, the ants are building up their sand-hills, it is a sign of coming severe winter.

7/27 – If it rains on the day of the Seven Sleepers, it will rain for seven weeks.

            A wet Sleeper’s day is not good for barn or barrel.


Farming and Gardening:

July, God send thee calm and fair
That happy harvest we may see.

Cut thistles in July,
Then they will die.

Against St. Swithin's hasty Showers,  (July 15)
The Lily white reigns queen of the Flowers;
And Poppies a sanguine mantle spread,
For the blood of the Dragon St. Margaret shed. (July 20)
Then, under the wanton Rose, again,
That blushes for penitent Magdalen. (July 22)

7/9 - St. Kilian sets the reapers going (July 9)

7/20 – Start harvesting on St. Margaret’s Day (July 20).

7/22 – Roses begin to fade on Magdalene's day (July 22).

          On Magdalene’s day, the nuts are plentiful,

7/25 – If you plant turnips on the 25th of July
           You will have turnips, wet or dry [i.e., no matter what the weather]

7/26 – On St. Anne’s day, the July grapes are ripe.

Sow your cabbage seeds on the first Wednesday after the 29th of July.

Cassell’s Illustrated almanac 1871 for July:
Flowers.Carnations and picotees should be layered when they have done flowering. Hydrangeas may be propagated freely by cuttings or layers. As soon as pergoniums have flowered they should be cut down; and if plants in pots have done blooming, they should be transferred to the ground, where, after a short time, they will again bloom freely.
Vegetables.— Plant out your cabbages and other plants; and transplant cauliflowers in moist situations. Stake your scarlet runners, and sow your last crop of kidney beans in the first few days of the month. Plant celery in shallow trenches, and keep it earthed up as it advances in growth. Remove weakly shoots, etc, from cucumbers, and keep them well watered.
Fruit.— Cherries and plums may now be budded in the same manner as roses (see operations for last month). Select some of the strongest runners for making new plantations of strawberries, which, if put in now in showery weather, or kept well watered, will be strong plants by the winter. Keep back the summer growths of all fruit trees, except those portions which are suitable for training.

My 1817 Almanac advised its readers to "Sow Turnips and Onions to stand the Winter; as also Carrots, Coleworts, and Cauliflowers.  Keep your Garden clean from Weeds, and do not neglect to weed frequently your new-planted Quicks*.  Gather such Seeds as are ripe, as also Flowers; dry them in the Shade, then in the Sun."
   "Plant out Celery, Cabbages, and Broccoli in cloudy Weather.  Earth up Peas and Beans."
Health for July:
"Forbear superfluous Drinking.  Use Cold Herbs.  Shun boiled, salt and strong Meats, and abstain from Physic."

*Quicks: Quickset, a living plant set to grow, especially for a hedge.  Specifically, hawthorn planted to form a hedge.

July. Limbourg frères. Grandes Heures of Jean, Duc de Berry, Fifteenth century.
The calendar pages of the Grandes Heures carried more religious symbolism than that of the more famous Très Riches Heures.  Each month was dedicated to a part of the Apostles Creed, with the relevant prophecy from the Old Testament and scripture from the New Testament.  July is dedicated to the article of the Creed which says “…from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead…” Here we see (left to right) Saint Paul instructing the Colossians (although the scripture “…Who shall judge the living and the dead…” comes from II Timothy 4:1); Our Lady stands above the battlements of the New Jerusalem, holding a banner with a depiction of Our Lord’s Ascension [once again, the artists are behind by a month, and will be for the rest of the year]; the sun is now at its apex in the arc of heaven; and Leo, the Lion, astrological symbol of July, stands in a rocky landscape near a waterfall

Jan van Eyck, 1432.  Detail, “Adoration of the Lamb”, from the Ghent Altarpiece.

July. Limbourg frères. Grandes Heures of Jean, Duc de Berry, Fifteenth century.
Depicted at the bottom of the calendar pages in the Grandes Heures is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets of the Old Testament by the articles of the Apostles Creed.  In each, a prophet (cloaked to show the obscurity of prophecy) takes a stone out of the building representing the Old Law and offers it to an apostle, who, by raising the cloak ‘uncovers’ the prophecy with an article of faith.  The Prophet Sophonius holds a banderole quoting from Malachi: “…And I will come to you in judgment and will be a speedy witness…” (Malachi 3:5), while the brick he pulls from the edifice has caused both towers to crumble and the superstructures to cave in; meanwhile St. Philip the Apostle presents the relevant part of the Apostle’s Creed, “…from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead …”

July – Haymaking. Engraving based on an 11th century manuscript. William Walsh, Curiosities of Popular Customs (1898) p. 586