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Feature Image Credits Wikipedia

According to the modern day Gregorian calendar, there are 365 days in a common year and 366 days in a leap year. A year is divided into twelve months. The concept of months and the number of days in each month depends on the Moon’s motion.

Gregorian calendar, also known as Western calendar, is a common calendar used widely in the modern day. The Gregorian calendar was named so after Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced it in 1582. It is a refinement of the Julian calendar. The Julian calendar was introduced by Julius Caesar which replaced the Roman calendar.

Earlier a Year consisted of 10 Months:

The early Roman calendar consisted of ten months with March as the first month and December the last month. Of the ten months, six were of thirty days and remaining of thirty one days, making a total of 304 days.

Permanent Gregorian Calendar (Credits Wikimedia)
Gregorian Calendar (Credits: Wikimedia)

The second King of Rome, Numa Pompilius is said to have added two months (January and February) to the calendar with a total of fifty one days. This made the Roman year 355 days long. Thus the new calendar had four months of thirty one days, seven months of twenty days and one month of twenty eight days. So, the Romans invented an extra month called Mercedonius of twenty two or twenty three days.

In 46 BC, Julius Caesar changed the calendar. The reformed calendar was known as Julian after Julius Caesar. The year was divided into twelve months having thirty or thirty one days, except for Februarius (February) at the end with twenty nine days. Every fourth year February gained an extra day. Later, Caesar decided to make Januarius (January) the first month instead of Martius (March) and made Februarius (February) the second month.

Origin of Month Names:

Here are the original names of the twelve months along with the origin of their names.

January (Januarius):

January is named after Janus, the Roman God of Beginnings and Endings. January is the first month of a year in Julian and Gregorian calendars. It is one of seven months with thirty one days.

February (Februarius):

February is the second month of a year in Julian and Gregorian calendars. It is the only and shortest month with lesser than thirty days. The month has twenty eight days in common years and twenty nine days in leap years. The month got it’s name from Februalia, a festival of purification and atonement celebrated in Rome during this period.

March (Martius):

March, the first month of the Roman calendar but third month of the Julian and Gregorian calendars. This month is named March after the Roman God of War, Mars. This phase was considered as the time to resume military campaigns that had been interrupted by winter.

April (Aprilis):

There are three concepts that exit regarding the origin of the name of this month. Few say April got its name from the Latin word meaning second since April was the second month of the Roman calendar. Others say the name comes from the Latin word ‘aperire’ meaning to open representing the opening of buds and flowers during spring. Few others say April was named after the Goddesses Aphrodite.

May (Maius):

May is named after the Roman Goddesses Maia also called Goddesses Maiesta, the Goddesses of honour and reverence. May is the fifth month of the Julian and Gregorian calendars. It was the third month of the Roman calendar.

June (Iunius or Junius):

June is believed to be the popular month for weddings. The Roman named it June after the June, the queen of the Gods and Patroness of marriage and weddings.

Roman Calendar (Credits Wikipedia)Roman Calendar (Credits: Wikipedia)

July (Quintilis or Julius):

July was named in honour of Julius Caesar who was born in July. The month received this name the year when Caesar was assassinated. Earlier it was called Quintilis which means fifth month.

August (Sextilis or Augustus):

August is named after Augustus Caesar in 8 BC (before christ). This month was earlier known as ‘Sextilis’ meaning sixth.


Since September was the seventh month of the Roman calendar, it is named after the Latin word ‘septem’ meaning seven. September is the ninth month of the Julian and Gregorian calendars.


Since October was the eight month of the Roman calendar, it is named after the Latin word ‘octo’ meaning eight. October is the tenth month of the Julian and Gregorian calendars.


Since November was the ninth month of the Roman calendar, it is named after the Latin word ‘novem’ meaning nine. September is the eleventh month of the Julian and Gregorian calendars.


Since December was the tenth month of the Roman calendar, it is named after the Latin word ‘decem’ meaning ten. December is the twelfth month of the Julian and Gregorian calendars.

The 12 Months of a Year and Origin of their names!
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