Everybody knows that the year is made up of twelve months, and we know the name of each of them. But do you know the origin of their names?
The origin of the name of the months is undoubtedly something that we do not usually ask.
The calendar that has survived to this day, like almost all, is inherited from the powerful Roman Empire.
The origin of the names of the months in Rome, from where it spread to almost all Indo-European languages.
Legend has it that Romulus, eponymous founder, and first Roman king, divided the year into ten months, starting the calendar in spring with March.
The period that would complete the twelve months (January and February) was not included because it was the winter season when no agricultural or religious activity was carried out
Those two months were then added at the end of the year.
The decision is attributed both to Numa, the Roman monarch’s successor to Romulus, and Etruscan influence in the empire.
In the 2nd century BC. C., due to an early start of government functions in January, instead of March, and since the positions could only be held for one year, the beginning of this was changed to January.
To adjust the calendar to the solar cycle, in 46 a. C., at the request of Julio Cesar and with astronomical bases, the precise duration of the months was assigned, adding one day to February every four years as part of these jousts.
In the following years, the Romans themselves continued to make changes and adjustments to the months, until they remain as they appear on our calendars today.
Once we have learned a bit of history regarding the origin of the names of the months, let us also know the relationship with some gods.
- January: its origin is due to Janus, the god of doors, the beginnings and the endings.
- February: comes from Februus, the god of the dead and purification.
- March: originates from Mars, son of Juno and Jupiter, the god of war.
- April: This month’s name comes from the Latin aperire, to open, although it could also come from Aphrodite.
- May: its name derives from Maia, goddess of fertility.
- June: Juno, wife of Jupiter, goddess of motherhood.
- July: This month’s name originates in honor of Julius Caesar.
- August: This month it bears this name in honor of Cesar Augusto, adoptive son of Julio Cesar.
- September: seventh month in the original Roman calendar.
- October: eighth month in the original Roman calendar.
- November: ninth month in the original Roman calendar
- December: tenth month in the original Roman calendar.
According to this relationship between the names of the months and some gods of Roman times, the origin of the names of the months is established.
Existence of leap years
To understand why leap years exist, one must take into account the movement of the earth around the sun in which there is a gap for the tropic year, which mathematically means that a year has a life cycle of 365 days, 5 hours, 48 hours and 56 seconds, instead of just 365.
Origin of the months
The leap year derives from the Latin “bis Sextus dies ante calendas martii”, which in Spanish means: the sixth day of March, which corresponded to an extra day inserted between February 23 and 24.
The practice of including an additional day begins with the creation of the Julian calendar and a decree of the Roman emperor Julius Caesar.