October gets its name from the Latin octo for eight, as it was the eighth month in the Roman calendar when March began the New Year. October became the tenth month with the Gregrorian calendar but retained its Latin based name.
Average and Record Temperatures for Utica in October
High 61° F Low 39° F
Record High 89°F October. 1, 1953; October 7, 1963
Record low 13°F October 20, 1972
Monthly Average Precipitation 3.36 Inches
Tree leaves that are varying shades of green in summer become a mixture of brilliant to pastel shades of red, orange, yellow, and brown in the fall. In the North Country the peak beauty is in late September, while in the Mohawk Valley and southern valleys this occurs in mid-October. For area residents and tourists alike, this is a special time of year to take a country drive to see the spectacular fall colors.
While a jacket is often needed, the weather is not yet so cold as to be uncomfortable, and the first measurable snow fall usually does not occur until November. Occasionally there is a stretch of warm and sunny days in the 60s or even 70s after the first hard frost. This brief Indian Summer can be delightful with autumn leaf color against a cobalt blue sky.
The first killing frost of fall finally comes in mid-October, a few weeks earlier in the mountains to the north of the Mohawk River. Most late blooming flowers turn to brown overnight bringing a clear end to the growing season for yet another year. During this time of changing temperatures, planting bulbs for next year’s garlic and spring blooming flowers is best accomplished.
October is the time for cleaning out the garden, mowing the yard for the last time, and raking leaves. There might be time for caulking windows and doors, putting up storm windows, bringing in the lawn furniture, and getting a tune-up for the car before the snow begins to fly for another winter season.
Ehtnic Related Holidays
October has several ethnic holidays important to large groups of people that call the Mohawk Valley home.
Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from mid September to mid October with many special events celebrating Spanish and Latino culture. These activities seem to be increasingly popular in recent years as the many Domincans, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and Spanish speaking residents from other Latin American countries to celebrate and share their heritage of music, art, food, and dance.
October 6 is German American Day. On October 11, the Utica Maennerchor will host a German Octoberfest in Marcy. This complements the annual July Bavarian Festival that has been popular for over 30 years.
Pulaski Day on October 11 commemorates the Polish General Pulaski, a hero of the Revolutionary War killed on that date in 1779 in the Battle of Savanna. There are ceremonies at the Pulaski Monument on the Utica Parkway annually in his honor, though in recent years this has been held in late September. October continues to be Polish-American Heritage Month.
Columbus Day, originally noted on October 12, the date in 1492 when Columbus “discovered” America. This was celebrated by many as an Italian Heritage holiday long before it became officially observed as a Federal Holiday on the second Monday of October in the 1970s.
As the ethnic mix of the city has changed, Columbus Day and Pulaski Day celebrations are not as large or widely attended as they were in years gone by. While Columbus Day is now a federal holiday, these other events are also important parts of our historical heritage. They provide differerent groups a chance to celebrate their cultural identity and share with the wider community.
October 21, 2012 is a day that will be long remembered by the many Roman Catholics of the region. German-American Mother Marianne Cope and Algonquin-Mohawk Keteri Tekawitha, from two distinctive backgrounds were canonized on that day in the Vatican. Perhaps this day might become remembered as a special day honoring these two new saints with historical roots in the Mohawk Valley.
While not an official holiday, Halloween dominates the month and has become one of the largest cultural festivals of the year with many separate events during late October. Some places set up scary tours of “haunted house” with ghosts, goblins, and witches. There are costume parties at malls and shopping centers for children to do their trick or treating in a safe environment. There are also elaborate costume parties that cater more to adults, often organized as fundraisers for non-profit organizations.
Many of the modern customs of this seasonal event have origins in cross-quarter day celebrations of the late harvest and Celtic New Year in pre-Christian Europe.
In the Night Skies
October’s full moon of October 8 is the Full Hunters' Moon. Occasionally, the full moon, especially when very early in the month of October, is called the Full Harvest Moon, but that is usaully in September.
One of the best known winter constellations, Orion is visible in the southern sky before dawn in October. Meteors seem to come from this area of the sky during the Orionid Meteor Shower about October 22-24. These meteors are remnants from Halley’s Comet and are best seen after 4 A.M.
Mercury might be seen in October, as an evening star early in the month in the west, disappearing, then re-emerging as an eastern morning star late in the month. Venus does just the opposite, being a morning star in early October and reaching its superior conjunction, or being at the far side of the sun from Earth, on the 25th.
There are two eclipses in October. On the 8th is a total lunar eclipse, more visible from the West Coast of North America. The partial phase begins at 5:14 A.M. EST, and total eclipse at 6:25 A.M., with the moon setting here before it is complete. On October 23 is a partial total eclipse of the sun just before sunset in most of North America.
Phases of the Moon for October 2014
First Quarter October 1
Full Moon October 8
Last Quarter October 15
New Moon October 23
First Quarter October 30
Rising and Setting Times for the Sun, Moon, and Visible Planets
For October, the times here are still Eastern Daylight Time. At 2:00 A.M. on Sunday, November 2, these times of sunrise and sunset become an hour earlier as the clocks are set back an hour and Eastern Standard Time begins.
Sunrise 6:59 am Sunset 6:41 pm
Moon 2:03 P.M. Next Day 2:52 P.M.
Mercury 7:16 P.M.
Venus 6:25 A.M. 6:34 P.M.
Mars 9:27 P.M.
Jupiter 2:28 P.M.
Saturn 8:34 P.M.
Sunrise 6:35 Sunset 5:54 pm
Moon 2:16 P.M. 10:09 A.M.
Venus 6:01 P.M.
Mars 8:59 P.M.
Jupiter 12:52 A.M.
Saturn 6:46 P.M.
October Astrological Signs Libra 9/23 - 10/22 Scorpio 10/23-11/22