How the Months Got Their Names

January, from Janus, was the sacred month of the year to the Romans. To them, Janus was the god of the year. During the 18th century, the Europeans started to recognize it as the first month, but previous to this, March was considered the first.

February comes from februa, the name of a Roman festival celebrated on the 15th of the second month.

March is from Mars, the god of war. March was the first month of the year to the Romans.

April, from the Latin aperire, “to open,” was probably so called because during this month buds begin to open.

May is from Maia, the mother of Mercury. The Romans offered sacrifices to this goddess on the first day of May.

The sixth month in our calendar, June, got its name from Juno, the wife of Jupiter.

July was so named in honor of Julius Cæsar, who was born in this month.

Emperor Augustus Cæsar commanded that the eighth month be named August after him.

September is from the Latin septem, meaning seven. At the time when March was the first month of the year, September was the seventh.

October, November, and December were originally the eighth, ninth and tenth months. Octonovem, and decem  are Latin numerals for eighth, ninth, and tenth.