Don’t Bug Me. It’s June!

While not actually "all things to all people," the month of June is many things to many people.

To begin with, it is National Adopt-A-Shelter Cat Month, and it is National Rose Month. Now, there are some -- and I am one -- who might say that, given their propensity for digging up gardens, cats and roses simply don't mix. But apparently, those who declare month-long commemorations disagree.

This year, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a co-sponsor, along with the American Humane Society, of National Adopt-A-Shelter Cat Month. The month is set aside to raise awareness of the fact that there are between 5,000,000 and 7,000,000 animals in shelters every year and that 70% of cats in those shelters are put to sleep. Interestingly, the ASPCA is an offshoot of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, founded in 1824 by twenty-two reformers, among them, William Wilberforce, a member of Britain's Parliament and the driving force in the abolition of the slave trade in Europe. His crusade for abolition was unrelenting for a period of 26 years during the 18th and 19th centuries. In contrast, the establishment of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals took less than two years.

One-fourth of all roses have no scent at all. First cultivated in China, roses have a language all their own. A single rose means "I love you," while yellow denotes friendship, white signifies innocence, and pink symbolizes gratitude. And legends surrounding the rose are everywhere. Napoleon ordered his officers to boil the petals of the delicate flower in white wine in order to heal bullet wounds, while General Saladin sent caravans full of rose water throughout his empire in order to cleanse the mosque after the crusaders, considered impure, contaminated the prayer rooms.

June is traditionally the month of brides. There is an old adage which says that the woman who marries in the month of June will be a bride all her life. The month was, after all, named in honor of the Roman goddess Juno, who was the wife of Jupiter and the guardian goddess of married life. Like roses, weddings are full of symbolism. In many cultures, it is traditional for the bride to wear a white dress, which symbolizes purity. An older tradition equates the wearing of a veil over the bride's face with virginity. Wedding rings are also customary across cultures, and while the origins are sketchy, it is thought that the circular shape of a ring symbolizes eternal love and perfection. It is known that the exchange of wedding rings now symbolizes the live and commitment of the union.

On June 12, 1939, the Baseball Hall of Fame opened, and so we think this month about the American sport of modern-day baseball. The baseball mania was first noted in New York, and by 1856, it was being publicly referred to as the "national pastime." The next year, the National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP) was formed, made up of 16 ball clubs in the area. The first professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, was formed shortly after the Civil War was over in 1869, and the sport underwent numerous changes between then and now. Despite the Major League baseball strike in 1994-1995, and numerous steroid and other scandals, baseball is still considered an American game, and it is still wildly popular throughout the country.

The first Friday of June is National Doughnut Day in the United States. There are a couple of theories about the origins of the holey pastry and when it came to North America.  But the most accepted one is that the doughnut was first cooked by the Dutch, whose version was made without the hole in the center. An American named Hansen Gregory claimed to have invented the circular doughnut in 1847, when he was only 16 years old!  He said he didn't like the fact that the center of what was then known as the doughnut was raw. Canadians eat more doughnuts and has more doughnut stores per capita than any other country. The acceptable alternate spelling is donut.

Notable luminaries whose birthdays are in the month of June include Mel Brooks, Gene Wilder and his wife Gilda Radner, and Dana Carvey, as well as Andy Griffith, Marilyn Monroe, and Mark Wahlberg. Also the beloved Michael J. Fox, actor and spokesperson for Parkinson's disease, President of the Confederate States of America Jefferson Davis, and William Butler Yeats, author of "The Second Coming," were born in June.

Royalty including Henry VIII, Donald Trump, and the artist formerly known as Prince and now known once again as Prince have their birth month in common, as do George Orwell, Paul McCartney, Anne Frank, and George H.W. Bush.

Additional resources for the month of June:

  • Petfinder – Search thousands of adoption groups and individuals for a pet to adopt.
  • InStyle Weddings – Find planning tips on wedding locations, décor, deals, bridal fashions and beauty products.
  • ProFlowers Rose Colors – A simple breakdown of the meaning associated with the colors of roses.
  • The National Baseball Hall of Fame – Online destination for the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, honoring excellence and preserving history for the professional game of baseball.
  • Mr. Breakfast: Doughnuts – Informative article on the history of the doughnut.