What happens in the month of September? It’s a little for everyone: the last days of summer and the first days of fall. See September holidays, advice, recipes, fun facts, and trivia below.
September, in Old England, was called Haervest-monath (Harvest Month). This is the time to gather up the rest of the harvest and prepare for the winter months.
There are flowers enough in the summertime,
More flowers than I can remember—
But none with the purple, gold, and red
That dye the flowers of September!
—Mary Howitt (1799-1888)
THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER
September’s name comes from the Latin word septem, meaning “seven.” This month had originally been the seventh month of the early Roman calendar.
- September 6—the first Monday in September—is Labor Day. Canadians also observe Labour Day.
- September 6 is also Rosh Hashanah, a Jewish holiday that marks the beginning of the new year.
- September 11 is Patriot Day, held in honor and remembrance of those who died in the September 11 attacks of 2001. This year marks the 20th anniversary of September 11.
- September 12 is Grandparents Day. Honor your grandparents today—and every day!
- September 15 is Yom Kippur, the holiest holiday in the Jewish calendar.
- September 17 is Constitution Day. This day celebrates the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, which occurred on September 17, 1787 (just five years prior to the founding of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, believe it or not!).
- September 21 is recognized as the annual International Day of Peace. Observances range from a moment of silence at noon to events such as peace walks, concerts, and volunteering in the community.
- September 22 marks the start of fall! This year’s Autumnal Equinox occurs at 3:20 P.M. EDT on Wednesday, September 22. At this time, there are approximately equal hours of daylight and darkness.
- September 29 is Michaelmas. Michaelmas is an ancient Celtic “Quarter Day” which marked the end of the harvesting season and was steeped in folklore.
“Just for Fun” Days
Have fun with these strange celebrations in September!
- September is National Happy Cat Month
- September 8: National Hug Your Hound Day
- September 13: Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day
- September 19: International Talk Like a Pirate Day
- September 24: National Punctuation Day
HOLIDAY TRADITIONS AROUND THE WORLD
Mid-Autumn Festival: September 20–21, 2021
Also known as the Moon Festival, this holiday has been celebrated for at least 3,000 years and is said to be the second largest festival in China after the Chinese New Year. Observed on the 15th day of the eighth month of the traditional Chinese lunar calendar, it can occur in either September or early October in the Gregorian calendar.
This autumn festival occurs during the full Moon nearest the fall equinox, which is traditionally said to be the brightest and roundest. Local festivities might involve brightly colored lanterns, dances, games, and other entertainments. Families and friends celebrate into the evening to give thanks for the harvest and for being together, offering each other wishes for happiness and long life and remembering loved ones who live far away.
Celebrants may make offerings to the Moon goddess Chang’e or share traditional mooncakes by moonlight. These round pastries, which symbolize the full Moon and reunion, are often filled with red bean or lotus seed paste surrounding a salted egg yolk in the center.
September’s zodiac signs are Virgo (Aug. 23–Sept. 22) and Libra (Sept. 23–Oct. 22). Find out your zodiac profile!
See the Best Days to do things this month.
Full Harvest Moon
September’s full moon, the Harvest Moon, reaches peak illumination on Monday, September 20, at 7:54 P.M. EDT. Read more about September’s Full Moon!
Moon Phases for September
New Moon: September 6, 8:52 P.M. EDT
First Quarter: September 13, 4:41 P.M. EDT
Full Moon: September 20, 7:54 P.M. EDT
Last Quarter: September 28, 9:58 P.M. EDT
See more about Moon Phases.
Check out our Sky Watch for the month’s best night sky events.
RECIPES FOR THE SEASON
We like to think of September as the month of apples, as apple-picking becomes a common weekend pastime. Here are a few recipes for this fruit of the season:
Wondering which kind of apples to use in your dish? See the Best Apples for Baking: Apple Pie, Applesauce, Cider & More to find out!
For more fall recipes, use our Recipe Search.
The garden may be winding down, but there’s still plenty left to do!
- See our list of gardening chores to be done around Labor Day: Labor Day Gardening Tips
- Correct any soil deficiencies you’ve noticed; healthy soil is crucial to healthy plants. See more on soil amendments and fixes.
- Compost should be watered during dry periods so that it remains active. Learn more about composting.
- Onions are nearly ripe when the tips of the leaves turn yellow. See our onion page for harvesting tips.
- Fall is the time to plant garlic. Got your cloves ready? Read more about planting garlic.
- Sunflower seeds are best dried while still in the plant. See more about how to harvest sunflower seeds.
- If you’re running out of ideas on where to store your crops, try using a root cellar.
If you’re planning on baking some apple pies, try consulting our Best Apples for Baking article.
Do you still have herbs left over? If so, use them to make your own herbal remedies.
Try this fun fall craft using apples: Apple Heads.
Help out the birds this coming winter by preparing some bird food for them.
FOLKLORE FOR THE SEASON
- Heavy September rains bring drought.
- September dries up ditches or breaks down bridges.
- September blow soft, till the fruit’s in the loft.
- Married in September’s golden glow, smooth and serene your life will go.
- If the storms of September clear off warm, the storms of the following winter will be warm.
- Fair on September 1st, fair for the month.
SEPTEMBER BIRTH FLOWERS
September’s birth flowers are the aster and the morning glory. The aster signifies powerful love, and the China aster expresses variety or afterthought in the language of flowers. The morning glory symbolizes affection. It can also mean coquetry, affectation, or bonds in the language of flowers. Find out more about September’s birth flowers and the language of flowers.
The September birthstone is the sapphire, which was once thought to guard against evil and poisoning.
- Sapphire is a form of corundum that is typically blue, a color caused by tiny bits of iron and titanium; the vivid, medium blues are more valuable than lighter or darker forms. Due to various trace elements, sapphires also appear in other colors. Those with red colors are called rubies.
- Sapphires were thought to encourage divine wisdom and protection. They symbolized purity, truth, trust, and loyalty. Some believed that if they were placed in a jar with a snake, the snake would die.
- The sapphire, along with the related ruby, are the second-hardest natural gemstones, with only the diamond being harder.
Find out more about September’s birthstone.
THIS MONTH IN HISTORY
September 12: Choices
On this day in 1962, President John F. Kennedy went to Rice University in Houston, Texas, to make a speech justifying his proposed $5.4 billion space program. He had called on Congress in the previous year to fund a massive project to put a man on the Moon and bring him home safely before the end of the decade. Toward that end, he asked his vice president, Lyndon Johnson, to make it happen. Johnson, a Texan, was happy to oblige.
The plan was to establish a Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, upon land that had been made available by Rice University (which had received it from Humble Oil and Refining Company). If that happened, federal money would flow to that city and to Rice, a university distinguished for its scholarship, if not for its football. In football, the University of Texas was king, although Rice gamely played Texas every year.
Kennedy challenged 35,000 listeners, sweltering in the Rice football stadium, to think big: “But why, some say, the Moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask, Why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic?” he asked. Then he added another impossible goal, one he had jotted in the margin only minutes earlier: “Why does Rice play Texas?”
The line drew a huge laugh and added a touch of humor and humility to the soaring rhetoric. His speech continued, soon issuing the now famous lines, “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard … .”
Kennedy eventually got his moonshot, although he did not live to see Neil Armstrong’s 1969 moonwalk. And, three years after the speech, in 1965, Rice beat Texas. It would be 28 years before that happened again.