Thursday, 2 October 2014

Word Wednesday - Months Of The Year And Where They Got Their Names

As a matter of fact ...

It's the 1st day of October! I recently did some freelance writing about Oktoberfest which, interestingly, isn't in October! The festival was moved back to coincide with warmer weather and the last of that year's brewed beer.

It got me thinking, why is October called October? For that matter, where do all the months names come from?



January - This came from the name of the Roman god 'Janus' of new beginnings, gates and doorways. Pretty fitting name for the opening month of the year. He is often depicted with his face facing two different ways.

This is one of the months that was added in after the Roman calendar's creation. Hence why things will seem a bit messed up in the later months.

February - Comes from the month of 'februus' or purification. The other month that was added in later to the calendar. Was also modified by Julius Caesar to it's modern form of 28 or 29 days in length depending on it being a leap year or not.

Janus and his two faces

March - Named after the Roman god of war 'Mars' and originally the first month of the year in the Roman calendar

April -  Aphrodite gave her name to this month as the Greek goddess of love and beauty. Nice choice by the Greeks, April is a pretty lovely time of year. I sound like Alan Partridge, sorry.

The birth of Aphrodite


Juno - Queen of the gods
May - From another Greek goddess, Maius of spring and growth. I'm starting to see a pattern here.

June - Juno from Junus, queen of the Roman gods. Boss god lady if you will.

July - Named after the Roman Emporer, Julius Caesar. I find it funny how he named the month after himself when so many of the other months were named after gods. Says a lot really. It was originally called 'Quintilis' for the 5th month of the Roman year.

August - Changed in honour of the Roman Emperor Augustus. He didn't do it himself, which is nice. The reason is due to a lot of good things happening in his life during August. The month was originally called 'Sextilis' as the 6th month of the Roman year.

September - Comes from 'Septum' as the 7th month of the Roman year.

October - Comes from 'Octo' for the 8th month of the Roman year. Like an octopus. You get the pattern.

Augustus: a man and a month
November - 'Novem' for 9th.

December - And 'decem' for 10th. Like decimal.

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Well, apart from the last few, those were some pretty interesting backgrounds. I bet the Greeks and Romans didn't expect people worldwide in 2014 to be using the names of their gods and emperors as the names for their months!
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