The months are a measure of time used with calendars corresponding to the length of time required by the Moon to revolve once around the Earth. A year is further subdivided into 12 months in the modern-day Gregorian calendar.
The month has either 28, 30, or 31 days during a common year, which has 365 days. During leap years, which occur every 4 years, we add an extra (intercalary) day called Leap Day, on 29 February, making leap years 366 days long.
The solar month originated as a way to mark time and break up the year into shorter periods based on the Moon’s orbit around Earth. The word month is derived from the word ‘Moon’. The current Gregorian calendar and the Julian calendar, both have 12 months. However, the month names we are using today are derived from the Roman calendar, which initially had only 10 months with the calendar year starting in March (Martius).
The Romans name some of the months after their position in the calendar year: September means the 7th month, October the 8th, November the 9th, and December the 10th month. However, when January and February were added and the beginning of the calendar year was moved to January, the position of these months no longer corresponded with the original meaning of their names. Even today also, we call the 9th month of the year September ( intended as the 7th month).
The Islamic calendar, the Hebrew calendar, and the Hindu calendar also use months to divide up the year. Even though the Gregorian calendar is a commonly used calendar today, other calendars are still used in many parts of the world to calculate certain holidays and annual feasts.
What are the Months?
The Gregorian calendar consists of the following 12 months given below along with month length:
January - 31 days
February - 28 days in a common year while 29 days in leap years
March - 31 days
April - 30 days
May - 31 days
June - 30 days
July - 31 days
August - 31 days
September - 30 days
October - 31 days
November - 30 days
December - 31 days
Origin of the Months’ Name
January derived its name from the Roman god Janus, protector of gates and doorways. This figure from mythology has two faces one looking into the past and the other into the future. The duality shown by this God meshes perfectly with the end of one year and the beginning of the next. In ancient Roman times, the gates of the temple of Janus were opened at times of war and closed at times of peace.
It derived its word from the Latin word ‘februa’ meaning “to cleanse.” As per Roman perspective, Moving into February, a month dedicated to purification. The Roman festival of February which is also called Lupercalia, began as a means of ensuring health and fertility, banishing and protecting the region, and cleansing the city. From a Roman perspective, February was termed as the last month of the year and they wanted to take out all the bad and bring in the good.
Its name was derived from the Roman god of war, Mars. It was the time of year to resume military campaigns which were interrupted in winter. March was a time for many festivals, presumably in preparation for the campaigning season. Among all the regional Gods, Mars was considered second after Jupiter. Mars’ power wasn’t considered as destructive. Keeping this in mind, March is a good month for tackling a battle in our life by spiritual means.
It was derived from the Latin word ‘aperio’ meaning “to open (bud),” because most of the plants begin to grow in this month. This month was viewed as spring’s renewal. April is Aphrodite’s month. She was considered as the goddess of all things beautiful in Greece as well as a governess of love and romance. Her Roman counterpart is Venus.
It derived its name from the Roman goddess Maia, who oversaw the growth of plants. Maia was considered a nurturer and an earth goddess, which can explain the connection with this springtime month. Maia was the wife of Vulcan. Both Greeks and Romans considered Maia as a nurturing force filled with warmth. Her name has the meaning of “Great one” so it can be considered a good month to focus on self-care or warming up a cool relationship.
It derived its name from the Roman goddess Juno, patroness of marriage and the well-being of women. Also from the Latin word ‘juvenis’, “young people.” The Goddess Juno, the wife (and sister) of Jupiter for whom June was named was considered the most important Goddess in Rome. Juno is an energetic goddess with eternal youth. Her Greek name is Hera. She is considered to protect the sovereignty of Rome and aid with fertility. Juno was considered a very complex character throughout Roman myths. She had various names and each of them gives us greater insight into her powers.
It derived its name from Roman dictator Julius Caesar (100 B.C.– 44 B.C.) after his death. Julius Caesar has made one of his greatest contributions in history: With the help of Sosigenes, he developed the Julian calendar, the precursor to the Gregorian calendar we use today. The 3rd quarter of the Wheel of the Year begins in July. Julius Caesar brought Rome from a republic to being an Empire. His leadership played a vital role in Rome’s expansion, and his writings continue to give an insight into the life and times of Roman citizens. His famous quote: “I came, I saw, I conquered.” With this in mind, the month was named after him so that it could support energy for victory and expanding personal horizons.
It was named to honour the first Roman emperor (and grandnephew of Julius Caesar), Augustus Caesar (63 B.C.– A.D. 14). Augustus (the first Roman emperor) was derived from the Latin word “augustus,” which means venerable, noble, and majestic. Similar to July, August also had another Roman leader for whom it’s named, Augustus Caesar.
September was derived from the Latin word ‘septem’ which means “seven,” because it was the seventh month of the early Roman calendar. September comes from a word meaning seven because it was originally the 7th month on the calendar.
According to the ancient Roman calendar, October was the name of the eighth month of the year. It got its name from the word ‘octo’, the Latin word for “eight.” When the Romans converted to a 12-month calendar, they tried to rename this month after various Roman emperors, but the name October was stuck.
In Old England, the month was named Winmonath, meaning “wine month,” because this was the time of year when wine was made. The English people used to call it Winterfylleth, or “Winter Full Moon.” They considered this full Moon to be the start of the winter season.
The word November was derived from the Latin word ‘novem’, which means “nine,” because this had been the ninth month of the early Roman calendar. November was named the ninth month of the Julian calendar. The Anglo Saxons also called November the wind month, while in the US it is called National Good Nutrition Month.
It was derived from the Latin word ‘decem’, “ten,” because this was the tenth month of the early Roman calendar.
After every four years, February has 29 days instead of 28. This year is called a "leap year" and the 29th day of February is called "leap day". A leap year has 366 days and not 365. All those years which can be divided by 4 are leap years. Eg: 2016, 2020, and 2024.
Months and Days
12 months together make One Year:
1 Year = 12 Months = 365 (or 366) Days
1 Month = about 30 Days = about 4 Weeks
Seven Days Together Make a Week. a Week Can be Any Period of Seven Days, Each Day is Special and There are Seven Different Days:
Did You Know?
Ancient Romans Had 10 Months Which Were:
Martius for the god Mars
Aprilis (‘aperio’ means to "open", and flowers blossom in this month)
Maius for the goddess Maia
Iunius for the goddess Juno
Quintilis from Latin ‘quinque’ meaning five
Sextilis for six
Septembris for seven
Octobris for eight
Novembris for nine
Decembris for ten (remember "Decimal" means based on 10)