As I mentioned last month, The Oxford Companion to the Year, by Bonnie Blackburn and Leofranc Holford-Strevens (1999) is full of fascinating calendar lore. It doesn't list birthdates of famous people unless these are national holidays, but it does give very full lists of national and regional holidays as well as saints' days for various brands of Christianity and other religious holidays. These are listed by date, with a section at the beginning of each month for those that fall on a first Monday or third Tuesday or first full moon after the equinox.
Of course, nations, regions, and saints are so numerous that there are at least two or three things listed for just about every day of the year -- maybe not anything particularly important, but something. For instance, January 23rd is Grandmother's Day in Bulgaria and the Feast Days of St. John the Almsgiver and St. Ildefonsus, Archbishop of Toledo. March 29th is Vietnam Veterans Day in the U.S., Swedish Colonial Day in Delaware, and Youth Day in Taiwan. May 22nd is National Day in Yemen, National Maritime Day in the U.S., bjornevak ('bear waking'), when the bears come out of hibernation in Norway, and the Feast Day of St. Rita. Here's the entry for the last:
Rita of Cascia (c.1381-c.1457), Augustinian nun; patron of desperate cases. Patiently enduring a vicious husband until he was killed in a vendetta, she then had to cope with her two sons, who had inherited their father's propensities; to her relief, they died before they could avenge his murder. She then became a nun, ministering to the sick, and suffering from a chronic wound on her forehead, connected with her visions of the Passion. An early life and record of miracles survives, and her cult has become enormously popular, especially with the unhappily married.
There is only one date in the entire year with nothing listed: tomorrow, July 9th. The authors cover the gap by quoting a stanza of Longfellow on the month of July, but it has no particular connection with the ninth day of the month. There's nothing listed for the second Wednesday of July, either.
I'm not superstitious, so I won't say that July 9th is just waiting for something significant to happen on it, but I will say that I suspect, and hope, that the next edition will list it as an Iranian national holiday. I wish there was something I could do to make that more likely.Posted by Dr. Weevil at July 08, 2003 08:10 AM