Monthly Musings: October is full of history and wonder

Monthly Musings: October is full of history and wonder

By Bonnie Marie Playle

Every third year, the October full moon is called the Hunter’s Moon or Blood Moon. October 2018 falls on one of those years.

There are a few notable holidays in October — the first being Columbus Day, which was changed to Alaska Indigenous Peoples Day in 2017.

Alaska chose the second Monday of the month to celebrate the holiday. This year it falls on Oct. 8.

Christopher Columbus never set foot in present day United States. It was time for the name to change, since the indigenous people were the first settlers.

October’s second holiday is Alaska Day, which is observed on Oct. 18. On that day in 1867, Russia transferred Alaska to the United States in Sitka. Also, on Oct. 18, 1966, the Alaska Federation of Natives was organized.

Sitka commemorates the day with the Alaska Day Festival, which runs through Oct. 20.

The Alaska Federation of Natives is the largest statewide Native organization in Alaska. It’s run by 12 regional nonprofit and tribunal partnerships that run federal and state programs.

One hundred and seventy-eight villages, and 13 Native regional corporations make up its membership. It’s headquarters is in Anchorage.

Another day observed is Oct. 31 — Halloween, which is a time of celebration and superstition. This is a way to usher in the winter season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats.

Here’s some October trivia: On Oct. 10, 1986, in Seward, there was record precipitation in a 24-hour time frame of 15.05 inches.

On Oct. 25, 1942, African American soldiers completed the last link of the Alaska Highway.

On Oct. 28, 1988, international efforts to free two stranded whales in Barrow were a success.

On Oct. 29, 1942, the Alaska Highway opened for travel. Also on this day, in 1958, Annette Island received the most precipitation in one hour — 1.05 inches.

98 percent of the state’s population was in one of these zones — now called Yukon time, which is one hour earlier than Pacific standard time (PST) and four hours earlier than the Eastern standard time (EST). Parts of the Aleutian Islands west of Juneau observe Hawaii-Aleutian time zone.

There are many things to do in October on the Kenai Peninsula.

The Evening of Classics was hosted by the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra on Oct. 5.

Whale watchers can watch grey whales as they migrate south from October to February.

Although there are fewer people, nature is always available. October is notable for the turning of leaves, animals in rut, shorter days, longer nights and, of course, the Northern Lights start dancing and temperatures starting dropping.

I mentioned October’s moon being called the Hunters’ Moon — this is because when the moon is full, it’s good to hunt by. In this month, game is fattening and preparing for the coming winter.

This is traditionally the time to fill freezers in preparation for winter.

October’s moon is also called Blood Moon, because the moon has a pinkish tint to it, and hunters are hunting in preparation for winter.

All months in the year in Alaska are spectacular, be safe and enjoy.

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