Lying between June and August, July is the seventh month of the Gregorian calendar.
As the beginning of the second half of the year, it’s a great time to start off on a new foot.
It’s also a great point to start working on any of those new year’s resolutions that you’ve put off attempting for the first half of the year!
Like all other months, July has a pretty storied history worth taking a closer look at!
So, let’s do just that and take a look at the origins of the month, the interesting observances it has, and some significant points in history which happened to fall in July!
July was named after the famous Roman general Julius Caesar by the Roman senate, as it was the month he was born in. Julius Caesar was a formidable military general and statesman who was largely responsible for changing the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. The month was previously called Quintilis (Latin for fifth) as it was the fifth month of the 10 month long ancient roman calendar.
As the second month of Summer, July is on average the warmest month of the year in the northern hemisphere. Its southern hemisphere equivalent is January.
In the southern hemisphere though, July is on average the coldest month of the year, being the second month of winter.
In early July a period of time called the “dog days of summer” begins. Historically they were observed within Ancient Roman and Greek astrology and were connected with bad luck, mad dog attacks, unexpected thunderstorms, heat, and drought. They gained their name as “dog days” as they were connected with the star Sirius, which is part of the Canis Major (Greater Dog) star system. Nowadays, “the dog days” refers to when the hottest days of summer begin.
Coincidentally, it was in July that the rabies vaccine was first successfully given to a patient. The French microbiologist Louis Pasteur administered the vaccine to a nine-year-old called Joseph Meister on the 6th of July 1885. The child had been bitten by a rabid dog, and Louis Pasteur, unsure whether the vaccine would be successful, decided it was worth testing. Fortunately for the boy, it worked!
On the 5th July 1946, the world’s first bikini was unveiled in the famous Piscine Molitor swimming pool in Paris. Just in time for the heat of summer, the bikini was modeled by showgirl Micheline Bernardini. While two-piece forms of swimwear previously existed, none used as little fabric as the bikini.
Julius Caesar wasn’t the only military genius born in July. Alexander the Great was another important historical figure who changed the shape of the world and was born somewhere around the 20th July 356 BC. Other famous people born in July include Frida Kahlo, Franz Kafka, Marcel Proust, and Nelson Mandela.
The Anglo-Saxons had multiple names for the month of July, including Maed-monath and Hey-monath. Respectively, these translated into “the flowering of meadows” and “hay month”.
It was on the 4th July 1776 that the 13 American colonies declared their independence from the British monarchy. The 4th of July, formally known as Independence Day, has been a federal holiday since 1870 in the United States of America.
July isn’t just the month for Independence Day though. There are plenty of other great holidays observed around the world! The 2nd of July is World UFO day while the 3rd of July is Stay out of the Sun Day. In the US, the 6th of July is a pretty delicious day, as it’s National Fried Chicken Day! At the end of the month we also have International Tiger Day on the 29th of July.
July has some pretty delicious month-long observances, too! In the US at least there are three in particular that stand out – It’s National Watermelon Month, National Hot Dog Month and National Ice Cream Month. Yum!
On the 25th of July 1909, Louis Bleriot became the first man to successfully fly an aircraft from one country to another. He took off from the coast of France, and landed across the channel near Dover, England.
There are two star signs which fall in the month of July. If you’re born before the 22nd of July, then your star sign is Cancer. If you’re born after this day, from the 23rd of July onward, then you’re a Leo. Those born under the sign of Cancer are said to be loyal friends with great emotional depth, and those born under the sign of Leo are said to be very proud people who display great leadership.
The 12th of July 1943 was an explosive day. It was on this day that Russian and German forces fought the largest tank battle in history, with 900 tanks on either side obliterating each other at close range. After a cease-fire was ordered and the smoke cleared, there were only 300 German tanks left standing.
If you’re doing everything right, then crops of corn are meant to be “knee high by fourth of July”. It’s also in July that crop circles start to appear in fields of corn. Crop circles have, for the most part, only started appearing since the 1970’s, although there have been a number of cases sporadically reported throughout history.
Despite it being the first month in the second half of the year, the 1st of July is not actually the middle of the year. In a regular non-leap year, the midpoint is actually on the 2nd of July at 1pm.
July has two birth flowers – the water lily and the larkspur. The water lily is said to be a symbol of a pure heart, while the larkspur (especially its white form) represents a lightness of heart.
The birthstone of July is the ruby, considered by many to be the king of gems. At one point in time it was considered to protect warriors on the field of battle if it was embedded in their armor. Nowadays, as a birthstone, it’s said to protect against evil.
July was an important time for the space race of the 60’s. The first manned mission to the moon, the Apollo 11 Mission, launched on the 16th of July 1969. Four days later, on the 20th of July 1969, Neil Armstrong made history by taking the first step on the moon while declaring “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!”.
July 16th, 1945 was another big day for the world, and a step down a very dark period of history. It was on this day in Alamogordo, New Mexico that the first atomic bomb was detonated. The bomb was called “Fat Boy”, and its explosion sure was fat – the mushroom cloud was 41,000 feet (12.5 kilometers) high!
If you live in the northern hemisphere, then I get why you might not like July.
It’s hot and it’s uncomfortable, but that’s just how summer is!
Make sure you take a break from the city and get out into the countryside, to a lake, or even better – the sea!
For those of you in the southern hemisphere, you better wrap up nice and warm and enjoy those long evenings inside relaxing by the fire.
Wherever in the world though, rejoice – the year is halfway over already!