The year creeps towards autumn, and in the Anglo-Saxon Calendar the month of September was known as Haligmonað.
The letter ‘g’, as I’ve learned from my trusty dictionary of Old English, could be pronounced as a ‘y’, which, along with the now sadly unused ð symbol to represent ‘th’, helps us recognise that this was the Holy Month.
This surprised me, because I would have expected the holy month to have been associated
with Christmas or Easter. Our old friend the Venerable Bede tells us it was the time of sacred rites, but doesn’t expand on that. The consensus of opinion is that it was when thanks was given for the harvest, a tradition that has continued to this day. But I can’t help thinking there must have been more to it than that for September to have been singled out as being ‘holy’.
(And it’s interesting to note that although halig means holy, hal on its own means whole or healthy. I’m not suggesting that greater brains than mine have got it wrong all these years, but it is at least interesting that September is the month when a good harvest guaranteed good health.)