Memories on your calendar

I thought about doing a column on the weird food holidays on the calendar, but the more I researched, the sillier it all became. 

Robbie Burns Night celebrates his birthday on Jan. 25 with haggis and scotch, but then cherries and strawberries are celebrated in February? Celebrating frozen food is not really my style, so I just stuck with the calendar idea.

Did you know that October was originally the eighth month of the year? The last four months all retain their original monikers with their Latin prefixes – Sept for 7, Oct for 8, Nov for 9, and Dec for 10.

The Romans had things all figured out, but then a few emperors with big ideas decided they should be celebrated in style. 

Julius Caesar added July to the calendar in 44 BC. Augustus Caesar thought that was a great idea, so he added August in 8 BC. Isn’t it interesting that what we now call summer is an addition to the oldest calendar – frivolous measures for a frivolous season?

Despite a bout of ego messing up the middle of the year, the ancient Romans gave us some good traditions that coordinate with the other months.

  • JANUARY: named after Janus, the god of gates and doorways, beginnings and endings. Janus has two faces, one looking forward and one looking back.
  • FEBRUARY: named for an ancient Roman festival of purification (who doesn’t spend at least a bit of time in February on self-reflection?)
  • MARCH:  for Mars, the Roman god of war, but representing the military as an agent for peace. He also honoured the beginning of the agriculture season. (Perhaps this was a nod to the idea that an army marches on its stomach?)
  • APRIL: directly translated from Latin, it means “uncertain beginnings,” but also derived from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, pleasure, and procreation (a good pick for spring).
  • MAY: the month of Maia, a Roman vegetation god that represented the circle of life. This word was also translated as “great” or “major.” (No wonder Canadians see May as a pivotal month, what with the May long weekend and other spring-to-summer celebrations.)
  • JUNE: Juno, the powerful Roman goddess of marriage and childbirth who was equivalent in status to the Greek queen of the gods, Hera.

This year has been a calendar with scrambled pages, it seems. Here in the Okanagan, we had weather unlike recent years – it made us think summer came early in May, only to have the pages flip back for cooler weather to prevail. Summer only showed its face briefly, more in September than August. 

Now that the fall solstice has passed, we move to the darkest time of the year. The days get shorter, the sun is shyer when it does visit, and the wind blows cold. But we are not yet at winter, we should enjoy the merits of autumn. 

We can even enjoy the pages of the calendar as they turn. When October turns to November we celebrate Halloween. Some call that time the Day of the Dead, others call it Samhain, or All Saint’s Day. It is a time when supposedly the connection between the worlds of the living and dead are strongest, and we can recognize those on the other side.

October is a time of transition. We need to use this time wisely, preparing for winter by stocking up on warm memories from the earlier parts of the year. These will be especially important this year as we hibernate more in COVID times. 

November is the month of remembrance and it is important to pay our respects to veterans. If you did not get into the spirit of being grateful with Canadian Thanksgiving, undoubtedly the American media will remind you of the concept.

If you don’t want to succumb to outside influence, you can always relate your positive attitude to World Kindness Day on Nov. 13. 

Before we know it, the calendar will have to be changed for a new one. The memories we have with this one will endure, and hopefully so will the things we learned. As the expression goes, hindsight is 2020. 

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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