Welcome July! We’re almost midway through this hottest month of our year. Next on the calendar is Bastille Day (July 14), which commemorates the start of the French Revolution. Enjoy learning a little history—and raise a toast to freedom!
The Month of July
July is named after Roman dictator Julius Caesar (100 B.C.–44 B.C.). Caesar developed the precursor to the Gregorian calendar we use today. Find out the origin of each month’s name.
Interestingly, July seems to be the month dedicated to freedom, independence, and celebrations of country and culture.
- July 1 is Canada Day, a Canadian federal holiday that celebrates the creation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867. See the full Canada Day page!
- July 4 is Independence Day (U.S.). On the fourth of July, we celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Don’t forget to raise the flag! See American Flag Rules. See our full Independence Day page and enjoy trivia—plus, refresh your memory on the real meaning of this day.
- July 14 is Bastille Day, which commemorates the storming of the Bastille and the start of the French Revolution.
Highlight this Year: BASTILLE DAY!
On July 14 each year, people in France, parts of North America, and elsewhere celebrate La Fête Nationale or Le Quatorze (14th) Juillet. Known as Bastille Day outside of France, the holiday commemorates the storming of the Bastille, which ignited the French Revolution.
Built in the late 1300s, the Bastille was a fortress that protected Paris, France, from attack. By the late 1700s, during the reign of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette, the fortress had become infamous for holding political prisoners. To the common people, who were suffering from a food shortage and the burden of high taxes, it also had become a symbol of the monarchy’s oppression.
Over time, several political and economic events had increased tensions between nobles and commoners. On July 14, 1789, things came to a head: Angry revolutionaries took over a military hospital to gather muskets. Their next target was the Bastille, for its supply of gunpowder. (At the time, only seven prisoners were being held there.)
When negotiations with the prison’s governor took longer than expected, the people lost patience and stormed the Bastille, an action that resulted in the loss of 100 lives but eventually led to the overthrow of King Louis XVI and the French monarchy.This violent period of transition ended 10 years later, when Napoleon Bonaparte became France’s leader, as First Consul.
Bastille Day commemorates the beginnings of a modern French republic and its evolution toward liberty, equality, and fraternity. It also is celebrated in remembrance of La Fête de la Fédération, an event that took place on July 14, 1790, to mark the (short-lived) constitutional monarchy and serve as a symbol of national unity and reconciliation.
This Bastille Day, if you’d like to raise a toast, we suggest “Je lève mon verre à la liberté!” (I raise my glass to freedom!)
“Just for Fun” Days
July is National Watermelon Month—yum! Have fun with these strange celebrations:
- July 7–13: National Farriers Week
- July 8: International Town Criers Day
- July 17: World Emoji Day
- Jul 20–28: National Moth Week
- July 22: Spooner’s Day
- July 25: National Day of the Cowboy
- July 27: Take Your Houseplants for a Walk Day
July 3 brings the start of the hot and sultry Dog Days of Summer! Read all about the Dog Days of Summer.
Coincidentally, the Almanac’s forecast for July 2020 looks warmer and steamier than your average July! See our summer weather forecast.
July 2020 is an exciting month for stargazing and bright planets. Both Jupiter and Saturn will reach their closest point to Earth and be at their brightest! See Bob’s Sky Watch details.
Also this month brings the Buck Moon. It’s full on the night of the 4th of July! Find out why it’s called the Buck Moon.
Another highlight of the July sky is the “Summer Triangle.” See our free, printable Star Chart for July to learn about the three “stars of summer.”
Recipes for the Season
Enjoy some delicious summertime recipes:
Visit the garden-fresh Summer Recipes collection for great meal ideas using fresh, seasonal ingredients.
- Now all hands to haying; begin by mowing the ripest and thinnest first.
- Look to your gardens; see that you destroy all kinds of weeds before they go to seed.
- In July, summer bugs are at their best (or worst, as the case may be). Find help in our library of pests and diseases.
- Are your crops starting to take over your kitchen? Check out some of our storage tips for fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
See our Garden Tips for July for a full list of tasks to keep you busy in the garden!
Warm weather allows us to get outside and complete some annual household duties.
Do you have some painting to do? Learn how to choose and use the right paintbrush for the job.
Many folks sell their house in the summer. Check out our tips on a speedy house sale.
Folklore for the Season
- Ne’er trust a July sky.
- If ant hills are high in July, the coming winter will be hard.
- As July, so next January.
No tempest, good July,
Lest the corn look ruely.
Whatever July and August do not boil,
September can not fry.
July Birth Flower
July’s birth flowers are the larkspur and water lily.
The larkspur, especially white forms, generally indicates lightheartedness; pink, fickleness; purple, first love.
The water lily symbolizes purity of heart. Find out more about July’s birth flowers.
The July birthstone is the ruby, which is believed to protect its wearer from evil.
- “Ruby” is derived from the Latin rubeus, which means “red.”
- This gem is a red form of corundum; all other colors are sapphires. The ruby’s color is due to the presence of chromium, which also makes the gem subject to cracks. High-quality rubies are a transparent, vibrant, purplish red; cloudier samples, or ones containing brown, orange, or pink tones, are less valuable. Many rubies nowadays are heat-treated to improve color saturation and transparency.
- The ruby, along with the related sapphire, are the second hardest natural gemstones, with only the diamond being harder.
- The gem was once thought to protect warriors if worn on their armor or embedded in their skin.
- Considered the king of gems, the ruby symbolizes love, passion, energy, and success.
July Zodiac & Astrology
July’s zodiac signs are Cancer (June 21 to July 22) and Leo (July 23 to August 22). Find out your zodiac sign profile.
Mercury Retrograde: Mercury enters retrograde motion on June 18, finishing on July 12. Read more about Mercury Retrograde.