August is upon us! What do we celebrate in August? Why is August a month? See all the notable days of August—from Lammas Day to Left-Handers Day to the Perseid Meteor Shower!
To us, August brings the best bounty of the season—ripened tomatoes, ripe melon, sweet corn on the cob, and zucchini are just a few of our favorites.
Canning season is here, too, and you can find tips and recipes below.
Summer declines and roses have grown rare,
But cottage crofts are gay with hollyhocks,
And in old garden walks you breathe an air
Fragrant of pinks and August-smelling stocks.
—John Todhunter (1839-1916)
The Month of August
August was named to honor the first Roman emperor (and grandnephew of Julius Caesar), Augustus Caesar (63 B.C..–A.D. 14). Find out the origin of each month’s name.
“After Lammas Day, corn ripens as much by night as by day.”
- August 1, traditionally known as Lammas Day, was a festival to mark the annual wheat and corn harvest. Lammas also marked the mid-point between the summer solstice and autumn equinox, and was a cross-quarter day. See more about Lammas Day.
- August 5 is a Civic Holiday in parts of Canada.
- August 9 starts the Islamic New Year, or the First of Muharram, beginning at sundown. Traditionally, it begins at the first sighting of the lunar crescent after the new Moon.
- August 10 is St. Lawrence’s Day. “Fair weather on St. Lawrence’s Day presages a fair autumn.”
- August 11 marks the end of the Dog Days of Summer, which began on July 3.
- August 17 is when the Cat Nights begin, harking back to a rather obscure Irish legend concerning witches; this bit of folklore also led to the idea that a cat has nine lives.
- August 19 brings National Aviation Day, chosen for the birthday of Orville Wright who piloted the first recorded flight of a powered heavier-than-air machine in 1903.
- August 24 is St. Bartholomew Day. “At St. Bartholomew, there comes cold dew.”
- August 26 is Women’s Equality Day, which celebrates the 1920 ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment and, with it, women’s right to vote in the United States.
“Just for Fun” Days
Have fun with these strange celebrations!
- Aug. 1–7: International Clown Week
- Aug. 3: National Watermelon Day
- Aug. 8: “National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbors’ Porch Day” (Or, use up that bounty with our best zucchini recipes.)
- Aug. 10: National S’mores Day
- Aug 12: Vinyl Record Day
- Aug. 13: International Left-Handers Day
- Aug. 17: International Geocaching Day
- Aug. 17: World Honeybee Day
- Aug. 25: Kiss-and-Make-Up Day
August’s zodiac signs are Leo (July 23–August 22) and Virgo (August 23–September 22). Find out your zodiac profile.
Full Sturgeon Moon
August’s full moon, the full Sturgeon Moon, reaches peak illumination in the morning hours of Sunday, August 22. For the best view of the full Moon, look skyward on the night of the 21st! Read more about August’s Full Moon.
Perseid Meteor Shower
August is a wonderful month for star gazing! It’s the month of the Perseid meteor shower, which peaks between August 11 and 13. This year, the Perseids reach their peak just a few days after the new Moon (August 8), which means that the Moon’s usual brightness won’t wash out too many of the “falling stars!”
August Moon Phases
New Moon: Aug. 8, at 9:50 a.m. EDT
First Quarter: Aug. 15, at 11:21 a.m. EDT
Full Moon: August 22, at 8:02 a.m. EDT
Last Quarter: Aug. 30, at 3:15 a.m. EDT
Recipes for the Season
Try some of our recipes featuring this month’s crops to wrap up the summer:
See more summertime recipes at What’s in Season: Summer Recipes.
The summer and fall are also popular times for family gatherings. Visit our Family Reunion Planner for lots of great recipe ideas.
What’s in season in August? In much of the country, it’s peak time for picking:
- Summer Squash/Zucchini
- Cantaloupe and Watermelon
- Bell Peppers and Jalapeño Peppers
Preserve the bounty of the season’s harvest by trying your hand at pickling and canning!
See how to store your fruits, vegetables, and herbs for the coming winter.
Seeds nearly ripe must be gathered from the birds, such as cabbage, fennel, lettuce, mustard, etc. See our page on seed-saving for more information.
Planting a second (or third) crop? Check our Succession Gardening chart for last planting dates.
Remember to plant your fall bulbs now: Growing Guide: Fall–Planted Bulbs
Planning on finishing up outdoor house projects before the summer ends? See our Home Improvement pages on painting, flooring, wallpapering, roofing, and more.
Bugs buggin’ you? Look to our natural remedies for insect bites and stings.
August Birth Flowers
August’s birth flowers are the gladiolus and the poppy.
The gladiolus symbolizes strength of character, sincerity, and generosity.
The poppy symbolizes eternal sleep, oblivion, and also imagination.
August’s primary birthstone is peridot, which is said to symbolize strength and healing power, protecting its wearer from nightmares and evil, ensuring harmony and happiness. Babies born in August are lucky to be guarded by peridot’s good fortune.
- Peridot is the rare gem-quality form of the mineral olivine that appears in various shades of green, sometimes with a brown or yellow tinge. Called “evening emerald,” the peridot was often mistaken for that other gem. Peridot is formed deep inside the earth’s mantle and is brought to the surface by volcanoes. In Hawaii, peridot symbolizes the tears of Pele, the volcano goddess of fire who controls the flow of lava.
A previous birthstone for this month was sardonyx, which is characterized by alternating bands of sard and onyx, both forms of chalcedony. Although it can appear in several colors, it is usually reddish and white. It is thought to bring courage, happiness, and eloquence.
- Legend says that Queen Elizabeth I once gave the Earl of Essex a ring made of sardonyx, pledging her aid if he was ever in need. Later on, when accused of treason and scheduled for execution, he tried to send the ring to her but an enemy intercepted it. The queen learned of his plea only years later, after he had been beheaded.
Folklore for the Season
- As August, so February.
- Observe on what day in August the first heavy fog occurs, and expect a hard frost on the same day in October.
- If the first week of August is unusually warm, The winter will be white and long.
- So many August fogs, so many winter mists.
- When it rains
It raises honey