By Roger Chambers
Holidays and Observances
As of this writing in mid-August, the status of the usual annual fall celebrations and festivals remains unclear. Many of the comments here continue to be on the Covid 19 Pandemic, our social and political responses to the pandemic, and how it has changed daily life.
September 6 Labor Day; Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown
September 9Admission Day, California
September 11 Patriot Day
September 12 Grandparents Day
September 15 Yom Kippur begins at sundown
September 15-October 15 Hispanic Heritage Month
September 18 Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year begins at sunset
September 17 Constitution Day; Citizenship Day
September 20 Jewish Festival Sukkoth begins at sunset
September 21 International Day of Peace
September 22 Autumnal Equinox
September 24 American Indian Day
September 27 Yom Kippur, Jewish Day of Atonement begins at sunset
We remain in the midst of the latest wave of the pandemic. The most common and very contagious Delta variant is usually more common and severe among the unvaccinated. Regulations concerning when and where a mask is necessary are still in flux, and changing on an almost daily basis. To mask or not remains a difficult issue for many, and most unfortunately this has become a politically divisive issue over perceived personal freedoms being infringed upon and public health.
There are still nearly ninety million unvaccinated Americans, a large enough pool for the virus to continue to easily spread and mutate. Many private businesses, universities and schools, and some governmental agencies are requiring vaccination to continue as an employee or student. This would presumably be with very few exemptions for health related or religious reasons contraindicating such vaccine. Late news is that New York State, and perhaps the federal government are mandating that all health care worker / hospital and nursing home employees be vaccinated to continue employment.
Some local and regional annual festivals such as the popular Remsen Festival of the Arts canceled early on. Organizers felt the Barn Festival could not host an event limiting access to low numbers. Other events, such as the State Fair are proceeding. However, whether or not there will be mask mandates, or size limitations for indoor crowds remains to be seen.
While air travel is getting somewhat “back to normal,” with mask mandates, perhaps the largest area of controversy is over mask mandates for schools. Most health experts feel that this is necessary, especially as there is as yet no approved vaccine for children under twelve. Many states and school boards agree. However, in some states, notably Texas and Florida, Republican governors have signed executive orders prohibiting local school boards or governments from imposing such restrictions.
Chances are that mandates for certain groups of people to be vaccinated or wear a mask will lead to litigation, and weeks or months of increasing confusion. In the meantime, wearing a mask is quite effective in limiting the spread of this respiratory virus. Plain common sense should encourage masking for the next several weeks. At the same time, the most effective course for limiting the pandemic is continued public education on the importance of vaccinations with mandated vaccination in some cases.
The pandemic will not affect the traditional seasonal changes as the days grow shorter and nights cooler around the autumnal equinox. By the end of the month, the annual pastel display of changing leaves will begin. Days should cool down some after the hot, humid and often rainy July and August. There may be some fall festivals at regional orchards, farms or cider mills, but likely fewer than usual and perhaps on a smaller scale. Many farmer’s markets remain open, such as at Utica’s Union Station on Saturdays and the Clinton Green on Thursdays. Enjoy the variety of local produce from home garden, farmer’s market or grocery store as we enter apple season and early autumn.
In the Night Skies September 2021
Mercury is visible in the western sky much of early September in the evening twilight. On September 1 it is below much brighter Venus. The thin Crescent Moon is above Mercury on the 8th. On the 9th, Venus is to the right of the Moon. On the 10th there is an alignment, from lowest right to highest left, of Mercury, Spica (the blue star of Virgo), Venus, and the Crescent Moon. The waxing Gibbous Moon is seen below Saturn on the 16th, and below Jupiter on the 17th.
Fall officially begins at 3:21 a.m. EDT on September 22 with the Autumnal Equinox.
Rise and Set times of the Sun, Moon, and Visible Planets on September 22, Autumnal Equinox
Sunrise 6:49 a.m. Sunset 6:57 p.m.
Moonrise, Waning Gibbous 8:02 p.m., East Moonset 8:17 a.m., West
Mercury Sets 7:32 p.m., West
Venus Sets 8:31 p.m., Southwest .Mars Sets 7:11 p.m., West Jupiter Sets 3:46 a.m., West
Saturn Sets 2:22 a.m., Southwest
Moon Phases for September
New Moon September 6
First Quarter Moon September 13
Full Harvest Moon September 20 Last Quarter Moon September 28