August

Hello August! As Hong Kong’s summer is in full swing, we’re dedicating this month to the sun and positive energy. August is named after the Augustus Caesar the first emperor of Rome.

Hibiscus by Georgia O’Keffe

Hibiscus by Georgia O’Keffe

FLORA AND FAUNA

August’s hot weather brings the beauty of summer to Hong Kong and is a great month to view all the colour blooming flowers in local parks. One favourites places to visit at time of year is Tung Chung North park were delicate ballon flower, coral hibiscus and blood-flower are in bloom. If you’re in Sai Kung don’t forget to look out for the Chinese hibiscus on the promenade too.

 
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LUNA

The full moon for August will fall on 15th August, the native American tribes call it the Sturgeon moon as the lakes and rivers are full of sturgeon during this month. Another name for August’s full moon is Green Corn Moon or Barley Moon, as the moon marks the beginning of harvest season.

 
Whilst August yet wears her golden crown,
Ripening fields lush- bright with promise;
Summer waxes long, then wanes, quietly passing
Her fading green glory on to riotous Autumn.
— Michelle L. Thieme, August's Crown

FESTIVALS

There are several cultural festivals that are celebrated in the month of August. In Chinese culture, Qi Qiao Jie or the seventh eve, is often referred to as Chinese Valentine's Day, a romantic day for lovers that falls on 7th August. According to legend, the seven daughters of the goddess of heaven caught the eye of a cow herder during one their visits to earth. The daughters were bathing in a river and the cow herder, Niu Lang, decided to have a bit of fun by running off with their clothes. The prettiest daughter, Zhi Nu who happened to be the seventh born, asked him to return their clothes, the couple instantly fell in love and were married. They lived happily for several years however, the Goddess of Heaven became fed up with her daughter's absence, and ordered her to return to heaven. The goddess took pity on the couple and allowed them to reunite once a year, on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month, a flock of magpies would form a bridge for the lovers to meet for one day.

In ancient Rome, the festival of Vertumnalia was held every year on 13th august to celebrate Pomona, the goddess of fruit trees, gardens, and orchards, and her husband Vertumnus, the god of god of seasons, change and plant growth. Pomona watched over, protected and cared for the cultivation of fruit trees, her name is from the Latin pomum, meaning fruit. Vertumnus was a shapeshifter, who transformed into an old woman, in order to speak to the young goddess Pomona. He then managed to seduce her and eventually married her.

 
Vertumnus by   Giuseppe Arcimboldo

Vertumnus by Giuseppe Arcimboldo

Niu Lang & Zhi Nu

Niu Lang & Zhi Nu

BIRTHSTONE

For people born in August there are three different birthstones that are linked to the month; sardonyx, peridot and spinel. Ancient Greeks and Romans would go into battle wearing sardonyx talisman engraved with images of heroes and gods such as Hercules and Mars; they believed the stone would harness the bravery of the heroic figures, granting them courage, victory, and protection on the battlefield. Peridot is often call the evening emerald due to its light green hue, it is believed that the green peridot crystals found in volcanic ashes were tears of Pele, the Polynesian goddess of volcanoes. In ancient Egypt it was called the gem of the sun and they believed it would cure diseases of the heart, while many of the gemstones worn by Queen Cleopatra were not emeralds, as it was popularly believed, but were actually peridot. The gemstones symbolises strength and when set in gold, it is believed they will protect the wearer from nightmares. Often mistaken for a ruby or sapphire spinel is one of the most underestimated gemstones, they are singly refractive and often very transparent.

Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra who often worn jewellery that featured peridot

Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra who often worn jewellery that featured peridot

 

SOUNDTRACK

Reggae is the perfect soundtrack to summer, we can’t wait to listen to some mellow tunes at Hong Kong’s International Reggae Ska Festival on 24th August. The annual festival is Asia’s biggest reggae, ska, rocksteady, dub and dancehall event.


GET THE LOOK

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