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Friday, 24 June 2016

Month

The word month comes from an old term for the moon, a month being approximately the length of one orbit of the moon around the Earth.

No word in the English language rhymes with month.

Any month that starts on a Sunday will have a Friday the 13th in it.

The first letter of each month from July through November spells JASON.

Here is a list of songs with months in the title.

JANUARY 

The Romans named January after Janus, the God of gateways. Janus had two heads so he could look in both directions, back at the old year and forward towards the new year, at the same time.

Statue of the Roman God Janus.

January and February were the last two  months to be added to the Roman calendar, as the Romans originally considered winter a monthless period.

Although March was originally the first month, January became the new first month because that was when the Tomans chose the new consuls.

The Anglo-Saxons called January "Wulfmonath" as it was the month hungry wolves came scavenging at people's doors.

January is the coldest month in the Northern Hemisphere, and the warmest in the Southern Hemisphere.

The first recorded reference to a "January sale" in the UK was in 1865.

FEBRUARY 

The name of February came from the Latin "februa," a means of cleansing, which referred to the pre-spring purification rituals.

Before Julius Caesar reformed the calendar in 46BC, February was the only month with an even number of days. All the rest had 29 or 31. Odd numbers were seen as luckier.

Even when Caesar introduced leap years, the last day of February was the 28th. The extra day was achieved by counting February 24 twice.

The Anglo-Saxons called February Solmonath meaning month of mud or Kale-monath meaning kale or cabbage month.

The only time a month begins and ends on the same day of the week is February in a leap year.

February 1900 Japanese calendar showing that 1900 was not a leap year

February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have had a full moon.

MARCH 

The month of March comes from the Latin “Martius,” named for Mars, the Roman god of war who was also regarded as a guardian of agriculture and an ancestor of the Roman people. His month was the beginning of the season for both farming and warfare.

Colossal statue of Mars (Pyrrhus) - User:Jean-Pol GRANDMONT (2011), Wikipedia Commons

March was the first month of the year until the Gregorian calendar began to be used in 1752.

March was called Hlyda or Lide in Old English, which is a reference to the loud winds.

March is the only month with three consecutive consonants in its name in English.

APRIL 

It is unclear as to where April got its name. A common theory is that it comes from the Latin word "aperire", meaning "to open", referring to flowers opening in spring. Another theory is that the name could come from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.

In Old English the month of April was called Eastermonad.

In Western Christianity, there is a bigger likelihood of Easter falling in April than in March.


Eggs celebrating Easter,

In the English language, April is the first of three months in-a-row, along with May and June, that is also a female given name.

MAY 

The Romans named the month of May after Maia, a goddess of growth and fertility.

Vulcan and Maia (1585) by Bartholomäus Spranger

In Old English, May was called Thrimilce (three milks), the season when a cow could be milked three times between sunrise and evening.

In any year, no other month begins or ends on the same day as May.

No US President has ever died during the month of May. James Buchanan narrowly avoided doing so, dying on the morning of June 1, 1868.

JUNE 

June is named for the Roman goddess Juno, the wife of Jupiter.

Juno was the Roman goddess of marriage. Because of this, getting married in June was thought to be lucky.

June begins on a different day of the week each year.

JULY 

The month of July was named after Julius Caesar by a decision of the Roman Senate in 44 BC as July was the month of his birth. Before that, it had been known as Quintilis (fifth) as it was the fifth month in the old calendar.

The Tusculum portrait, of Caesar. By Gautier Poupeau from Paris, France - Wikipedis Commons

Until the 18th century, the word July in English had the stress on the first syllable and rhymed with duly or truly.

July 1 is not the mid-point of the year. The exact halfway point comes at 1pm BST on July 3 in a non-leap year.

No month ends on the same day of the week as July unless it is a leap year, when January does so.

AUGUST

August is named after Augustus, first Emperor of Rome who chose it as it was the month of his greatest triumphs. He died in August AD 14.

The statue known as the Augustus of Prima Porta, 1st century. By Till Niermann - Wikipedia Commons

Until 8 BC, the Romans called August 'Sextilis' as it was the sixth month of their year.

The Anglo-Saxons called August by the name Weod-monath (weed month) as it is the month when weeds grow most rapidly.

August' is the only name of a month that is used as a male name. April, May and June are all  female names.

SEPTEMBER 

September mean 'seven' in Latin as it was originally the seventh month in the Julian calendar, created by Julius Caesar

September is the only month with the same number of letters in its name in English as the number of the month. It is the ninth month and has nine letters.

The Anglo-Saxons called September 'Gerst monath', meaning 'barley month'.

Barley field

In any year, no other month ends on the same day as September.

In 1752 September had only 19 days in the UK as the country moved from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar.

On an average September day more babies are born in the US than on a day in any other month.

OCTOBER 

The name "October" comes from the Latin oct for "eight". It was the eighth month of the year before January and February were added to the beginning of the year.

The Anglo-Saxons called October Winterfylleth meaning the 'fullness' (not dirtiness) of winter. It signified the beginning of winter.

The Welsh for October is Hydref (originally Hyddfref), a word signifying the distinctive sound uttered by cattle.


In Catholic Europe in 1582, October had only 21 days. When countries changed from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, the days from 5-14 October were omitted.

Six US presidents have been born in October, more than in any other month.

NOVEMBER 

The name 'November' comes from the Latin for nine (novem), as it was the ninth month of the Roman calendar.

In Old English November was 'Windmonath' (wind month) or 'Blotmonath' (blood or sacrifice month) referring to the time of slaughter of farm animals.

The Dutch called it 'slachtmaand' (slaughter month); in Welsh it is 'Tachwedd', also meaning 'slaughter' .

November is the only month used to represent a letter in the phonetic alphabet.

The first Sunday of Advent is slightly more likely to fall in November than in December.

Advent wreath. By Micha L. Rieser - Wikipedia Commons

In any given year, November starts on the same day of the week as March and ends on the same day of the week as August.

DECEMBER 

The name of the month coming from the Latin decem for "ten", it was the tenth month of the year before January and February were added to the Roman calendar.

At the North Pole, the Sun does not rise in December; at the South Pole, it does not set.


More people suffer fatal falls in December in the UK than any other month.

Source Daily Express

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