As the last post of the month of August, let us reflect on the passing of time, especially this summer. Since so much time was dedicated to wine this season, the transition to the fall and the next month, September, inevitably involves wine. Sacred to Dionysus (Latin Bacchus), the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, ritual madness, fertility, theatre, and religious ecstasy, wine grapes are traditionally harvested in September. Since today is August 31, “National Eat Outside Day,” we celebrate the transition by eating great food and drinking superior wine in the open air … while reflecting a bit on the month of August and the passing of time … .
There would be so many things to say, particularly about the renaming of the earlier Sextilis (the sixth month of the original 10-month pagan calendar) to August in honour of Augustus Caesar, who had many triumphs at this time of year, including the conquest of Egypt, that wonderful place of arcane mysteries … and cool food … .
In a very lax attempt to loosely remain in the realm of the pagan, from a more (vulgarly) Epicurean perspective, it is important to note that many people apparently know August as National Goat Cheese Month and National Panini [sic] Month. To honour those observants, we offer this image:
A few days ago, August 27, there was the pagan feast of Volturnalia, a Roman festival dedicated to Volturnus, god of the waters and fountains. It is traditionally (and best) celebrated with feasting, wine-drinking and games.
Perhaps one of the most “Dionysian” characters of recent memory, Jim Morrison, reflected on the passing of summer with these words:
“When the summer’s gone, where will we be …?”
– Jim Morrison
Today, we know where we will be: just before the sun gets too low, we will go to a park, by a fountain, with food and wine, and celebrate Eat Outside Day.