All About The Month Of June

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June Holiday Guide | All About June

June is a warm, lush month in the northern hemisphere, a time when crops and gardens are growing, trees are in their full summer foliage, and there is still enough rain so that the grass has not yet been "summer-killed" by the heat of late July and August. By contrast, June is the southern hemisphere's equivalent of December in the north - the cool season when people catch the flu and snow even falls at the extreme tip of South America.

One of America's most distinctive June holidays - the Annual Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival - started because of a huge argument in the 1980s over whether cheese from Wisconsin or New York State is more delicious. Wisconsin has long claimed to be the cheese capital of the United States - a fact echoed in the nickname of "Cheeseheads" for people who live in Wisconsin - and in 1988, the local paper in Little Chute, Wisconsin asked why the National Cheese Museum had been built in Rome, New York rather than in the "Dairy State."

A series of "cheese offs" began between the two states, which ended when a blindfolded television reporter at the first Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival preferred the taste of Wisconsin cheese when fed unmarked samples of both states' cheeses. Since then, the Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival has been held each June in Little Chute, and includes one of the nation's strangest contests, in which people carve sculptures out of huge blocks of cheddar cheese - as well as plenty of good-natured fun and cheese-eating.

June is probably named for Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage, and one way or another - either as a self-fulfilling prophecy or just because of natural human behavior - the choice of this goddess to give her name to the month was very appropriate. Statistics prove that the number of weddings soars each year, starting in June - although the peak is in July or August - with the amount of marriages in each of these three summer months being over twice the number in January.

One theory about the reason for the huge upsurge in marriages every June is that people are still being motivated to marry then because they have a vague feeling that weddings in this month are "lucky"- a cultural leftover of ancient Juno-worship. Another theory is that people want to marry at this time because the weather is pleasant, travel is easy, and the good weather naturally gives humans positive feelings, and the Romans named the month after Juno because that is when people like to get married, and not the other way around. Although there is no way to really tell which of these theories is correct, they are both part of an interesting fact about this month's unique connection to human relationships.

June also witnesses the only official public holiday in the United States that is held in honor of a foreign monarch - Kamehameha Day on June 11th. This state holiday is observed in Hawaii, and involves closing of state and city offices, as well as schools throughout the state. King Kamehameha I was the monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, long before Hawaii was part of the United States. Kamehameha was a conqueror as well as a ruler and united the Hawaiian Islands into a single kingdom. June is unique in the calendar because it is the only month when the government of an entire American state is shut down for a day to commemorate the reign of a king.