July 4th, of course, marks the celebration of our Nation's independence. But even more importantly, from the Simple Lifestyle Calendar's point of view, is Independence from Stuff Week (viewers & teachers guides available at www.pbs.org/affluenza), celebrated during the first week of July. It's been said that perhaps we, as a nation, should in turn celebrate Interdependence Day - as no Nation or people survives completely on its own.
However, no one denies that July is a hot summer month. Dog Days begin July 3 and last 40 days. This day's lore says that whatever the weather on the 1st dog day will carry through for the entire period (pray for cool days!). Fortunately, we also have National Ice Cream Day on the third Sunday of July, a day in which to deliciously confront this summer heat. Also, U.S. Mennonite congregations celebrate Peace Sunday on the Sunday closest to July 4, showing that if one can't be cool, one can at least be at peace.
The stars play a prominent role during this month, with the celebration of Space Week, held during the week containing July 20, Moon Day, anniversary of the first moon landing with Apollo 11. Two prominent meteor showers also occur in July: Persaid Meteor showers beginning on the 23, and Aquarid Meteor showers peaking on July 28. This is a good month to keep your eyes on the sky: fireworks, meteor showers, and the cool moon (in the American backwoods tradition the full moon of July is called the Full Buck Moon). Can you see patterns in the moon's darks and light?
Important birthdays occurring this month are Henry David Thoreau, born in 1817, was an "American author, poet, philosopher, polymath, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist"; Woody Guthrie, born in 1912, was an American singer-songwriter and folk musician who gave us a truly 'American' anthem in his song "This land is your Land;" and Amelia Earhart, born July 24, 1898, who became the Nation's courage and mysterious sorrow when she was the first (man or woman) to fly solo from Hawaii to California across the pacific, made a nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic, and with her copilot disappeared during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe in 1937. July 18 is Mandela Day, an annual celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life (started in 2009) and a global call to action for people to recognize their individual power to" make an imprint" and change the world around them -- by giving 67 minutes of volunteer service.