May 23, 2017

#05-046: September Start-up

muddy black-and-white graphic of a large number of people marching in an orderly fashion and carrying signs, as others line the street looking on
A Labor Day parade, New York City, ca. 1882

Note: A tribute to workers, another to the heroes of September 11, and a silly day that encourages people to "talk like a pirate," all in September!

Get Ready: Ahoy there, Matey! Know ye how to talk like a pirate? Arrrr!

Just as August is sort of the "low ebb" of events in the northern hemisphere, September--ironically, perhaps, as the days grow shorter and winter comes on--is the time when things start up again. (Nevertheless, in the source I'm using, six of the last ten days of September have no observances at all!)

Vacations are over; in most countries kids are back to school; the weather begins to get a little more tolerable; and overall things go back to normal. (As first a student and then a teacher for most of my life, "New Years" for me is, for all intents and purposes, in September.)

In Australia, New Zealand, and some surrounding countries, the first Sunday of September is Father's Day. This is also considered to be the first day of Spring in the southern hemisphere.


For Canadians and Americans, it all starts off with Labor Day, the first Monday of the month and, as I mentioned in Lesson #05-030, the unofficial end of the summer season.


In around ten countries, Teachers' Day is observed at some point during the month, though globally October has far and away the greatest number of Teachers' Days, with around 35 (See Lesson #05-049 for more).


Since 2001, Americans have commemorated the September 11 attacks on that date, often abbreviated "911" (which is also the nationwide telephone number used for emergencies). Some have called it Patriot Day or the National Day of Service and Remembrance (especially dedicated to the rescue workers who helped bring out the survivors). Public flags are flown at half-mast on that day, a gesture seen in many countries as a symbol of respect, mourning, or distress.


Though September, like every month, has its share of silly holidays, I would be remiss if I were not to mention one in particular: International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Called a "parodic holiday," the September 19 observance was started as a joke by two American men, and was popularized by a well-known newspaper columnist, the humorist Dave Barry. The idea caught on to the point that some major internet sites offer "Pirate" as a language choice!

Next September, then, greet your friends with "Ahoy there, Matey!" rather than "Hello."


Read more:

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. at low ebb
  2. at some point
  3. for all intents and purposes
  4. half-mast
  5. ironically
  6. parodic
  7. patriot
  8. remiss
  9. rescue workers
  10. tolerable

  1. amusingly contrarily
  2. negligent; careless
  3. one devoted to his or her country
  4. police, fire fighters, etc.
  5. some time
  6. not raised to the top of the pole
  7. in decline; at the bottom
  8. able to be endured
  9. humorous
  10. practically speaking

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for May 23, 2017

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. g; 2. e; 3. j; 4. f; 5. a; 6. i; 7. c; 8. b; 9. d; 10. h