Month and Day Names

Month Names

Month Derivation (from Latin)
Jānuārius “Month of Jānus,” from Jānus, (Genitive Jāni), double-faced (i.e., looking both forward and backward) god of gateway arches and transitions.
Februārius “Month of Sacrificial Fumigation,” from februum (Genitive februī), “incense fumes;  implements for expiation and purification;  feast of expiation and purification” (annually celebrated in the thirty days or so before the beginning of March).
Mārtius “Month of Mārs,” Mārs (Genitive Mārtis;  Old Latin, Māvors, Māvortis), god of weather and war, later identified with the Greek Ares (Genitive Areōs).  The “month of Mārs” (Mārtius) was originally the first month of the year, the first sixty days after December being uncalendared.
Aprīlis “Month of Venus,” from Etruscan apru from Greek Aphro, short form of Aphrodíte (the Greek goddess of love, Latin Venus [Genitive Veneris], “Love, Desire.”).
Mājus “Month of Mājus/Māja,” from Mājus (Genitive Mājī), “the Growth Bringer” (god) or “the Great” (god), an old Roman god.  Cf. Latin magnus “great” and Maja “the Great Goddess,” or “Earth.”
Jūnius “Month of Juno,” from Juno (Genitive Junonis) “the Youthful” (goddess), originally an old Etruscan (and Italic) goddess of birth.  (Later identified with the Greek queen of the gods, the goddess Hera.)
Jūlius (Originally Quīntīlis, “Fifth [month],” and Julius Cęsar’s birth month.) “Month of Jūlius (Cęsar),” from Jūlius (Genitive Jūliī), the name of a patrician clan (gens) which included the family of the Cęsars (Cęsares), whence sprang Gājus Jūlius Cęsar, after whom the month of Quīntīlis (earlier Quīnctīlis from quīnque, “5”) was renamed.
Augustus (Originally Sextīlis ,”Sixth [month],” from sex, “6,” and the death month of the emperor Octāviānus.)  “Month of Augustus (Cęsar),” from augustus “sacrosanct;  august, majestic”; and as a title, “(His) August Majesty,” honorific title given to Gājus Jūlius Cęsar Octāviānus (originally only Gājus Octāvius), the adopted son of Gājus Jūlius Cęsar.  Octāviānus was the first Roman emperor (31 B.C.-A.D. 14).
September “The Seventh [month],” from septem, “7” (i.e., starting from March).  The emperor Titus Flāvius Domitiānus Germānicus (reigned A.D. 81-96) renamed September to his agnōmen, Germānicus (“Victor over the Germans”), his self-imposed honorific title, during his reign.  The name “September” was restored after his assassination in 96.
Octōber “The Eighth [month],” from octō, “8” (i.e., starting from March).  The emperor Titus Flāvius Domitiānus Germānicus (reigned A.D. 81-96) renamed Octōber to his cognōmen, Domitiānus, during his reign.  The name “Octōber” was restored after his assassination in 96.
November “The Ninth [month],” from novem, “9” (i.e., starting from March).
December “The Tenth [month],” from decem, “10” (i.e., starting from March).

Weekday Names

Weekday Derivation (through Old English from the names of the Greek and Latin “planet gods”)
Sunday Day of the Sun (The Germanic word “sun” was originally feminine;  hence not “Sunsday”).  Symbol:  sacred draught animal = the stallion drawing a plough.  Translation of Latin Solis diēs, “day of the Sun.”  (French dimanche and Spanish domingo come from Christian Latin [diēs] dominicus, “[the day] of the Lord,” not from the older, pagan Latin as do the other weekday names.)  The Latin name is itself a loan translation from Greek hēméra Hēlíou (ἡμέρα Ἥλιου), “day of the Sun [god].”  Hēlios was also the sun as god (astrological sign {+}).
Monday Day of the Moon (The Germanic word “moon” was originally feminine;  hence not “Moonsday”), translation of Latin Lunę diēs, “day of the Moon” (cf. French lundi, Spanish lunes).  Symbol:  lunar crescent.  The Latin name is itself a loan translation from Greek hēméra Selēnēs (ἡμέρα Σεληνης), “day of the Moon [goddess].”  (Selēnē was also the moon as goddess.  [astrological sign ] {-})
Tuesday Day of Tew (Germanic, originally masculine;  Old Norse Tyr, Old High German Ziu).  Symbol:  the rune for “T” (į, an upward-pointing arrow), the warrior rune.  Translation of Latin Mārtis diēs, “day of Mars” (cf. French mardi, Spanish martes).  The Latin name is itself a loan translation from Greek Areōs hēméra (Ἄρεως  ἡμέρα), “Ares’ day.”  (Arēs was the god of war and slaughter, strife and pestilence.  In addition, he was the god-planet Mars.  [signs {-} & {+}])
Wednesday Day of Wōōden (Germanic, originally masculine;  Old Norse Ódin, Old High German Wōtan).  Symbols:  eagle, raven (carrion birds, birds of death), whirling disk (i.e., the birth canal and the tunnel of death), the wal knot (intertwined triple triangle), spear.  (The name Wōden itself comes from Gothic Wōðan-, Wōðin-, which is composed of wōd-, “in shamanic trance, insane, mad, out of one’s mind” and the ending “-an-” or “-in-,” which means “chief or leader of.”  Thus the name means “Leader of those in shamanic rapture,” or, more simply, “Chief of the Shamans” or “Shaman God.”  Ancient Germanic religion was shamanic.)  The word translates Latin Mercuriī diēs “day of Mercury” (cf. French mercredi, Spanish miércoles).  The Latin name is itself a loan translation from Greek Hermoû hēméra (Ἡρμοῦ ἡμέρα), “Hermēs’ day.” (Hermēs was the messenger of the gods to men, and the one who, like the shaman-god Wōðan, conducted the souls of the dead to the Netherworld;  he was also the god of commerce and travel.  He was also the god-planet Mercury.  [signs {-} & ] {+})  The early Christian missionaries in Germany found the religion of Woden so threatening that they eliminated his name from the weekday names.  Instead of *Wōtanstag (like English “Wōōden’s Day” -> “Wednesday”), they renamed the third weekday to “Midweek” -> modern German “Mittwoch.”
Þursday Day of Thor (= Thunder).  (The Germanic word was originally masculine;  Old Norse Thor, Old High German Donar).  Symbols:  great oaks, ax, hammer, swastika.  Translation of Latin Jovis diēs “day of Jove” (the high god).  (Cf. French jeudi, Spanish jueves).  The Latin name is itself a loan translation of Greek Diós hēméra (Διός ἡμέρα) “Zeus’ day.”  (Zeus was also the god-planet Jupiter.  [signs {-} & {+}])
Friday Day of Fry, the goddess of love (originally feminine, hence not “Frisday”;  Old Norse Frigga, Old High German Frija;  cf. also English fri-end “loving person”).  Symbols:  nuts, apples, seeds, wheat;  boar & sow, mare.  Translation of Latin Veneris diēs “day of Venus” (cf. French vendredi, Spanish viernes).  The Latin name is itself a loan translation from Greek Aphrodítēs hēméra (Ἀφροδῑ́της ἡμέρα), “Aphrodítē’s day.”  (Aphrodite was also the god-planet Venus.  [signs {-} {+}]) 
Saturday Day of Saturn (originally a Latin, not Germanic, masculine;  hence not “Satursday”).  Symbols:  plough, scythe/sickle, snake biting its own tail, i.e., symbols of all-consuming time (= the “Grim Reaper”).  English follows the Latin Sāturnī diēs “day of Saturn”.  The Latin name is itself a loan translation from Greek Krónou hēméra (Κρόνου ἡμέρα) “Krónos’ day.”  (Kronos was also the god-planet Saturn.  [signs {-} & {+}])  By contrast, Aramaic-Hebrew shabbāþ; (from Hebrew shābháþ “to rest”) produced Greek Christian sábbăton (σάββᾰτον) (Dative sabbátōj [σαββάτῳ], “on the Sabbath”), which passed into classical Arian Christian Visigothic as sabbatō “Sabbath.”  In vulgar Greek the word was “smoothed out” to sámbatōn and taken into later Gothic as sambatō.  Arian Christian Germanic missionaries took the word northwestward into Germanic territory.  There it was suffixed with the clarifying word dags “day” (i.e., yielding something like *sambatadags) and ultimately resulted in modern French samedi (but cf. Spanish sábado), Old High German sambaztag and modern German Samstag, which competes with true German Sonnabend “Eve of Sun(day).”  The closest Germanic equivalent to Sāturnus may have been the terrifying supernatural monster known in the north as Loki (whom the Christian Saxo Grammaticus, around 1200, demonized as “Loki of the Outer Regions” [Útgarða Loki]), but the “neutral,” foreign name of Saturday was preferred by Englishmen to *Lokisday (which the Scandinavians apparently changed into Laugardagr “Bathing day”;  laug- = English lye, the original form of soap).

Note:  The year of twelve non-lunar months as we know it originally started with the year 45 B.C. by decree of Julius Cęsar (whence the “Julian” calendar).  He adapted it from the twelve-month Egyptian solar calendar, which itself actually began with the rising of the “dog star,” Sirius (in the “dog days” [diēs canīculārēs] of July 23 to August 23).  The Egyptian calendar’s twelve months each had 30 days, and at the end of the year were added five days (six, in leap years) to make a total of 365 (or 366) days.  Julius Cęsar took the extra five or six days and distributed them among the twelve months.  At that time the months of Quīntīlis and Sextīlis had only 30 days apiece.  Later, in slavish political adulation of Cęsar, the Roman Senate not only changed the name of the month Quīntīlis to Jūlius, but took a day away from Februārius, which had had 30, and appended it to the then-30-day-long month of Jūlius, thus making his month equal to those with 31 days.  Later, the Senate repeated this action in the case of Jūlius’ nephew, Augustus Cęsar, taking yet another day away from the “unimportant” month of Februārius and adding it to the month of Augustus, which it had newly renamed from Sextīlis.  Thus it came about that today February has only 28 days normally and 29 in leap years.

Before Cęsar’s decree, the Roman year had had only 10 months, beginning with March, and the days between December and March had not been organized into separate months.  (They had been merely a time of winter quiescence and religious festivals.)  The “Gregorian” calendar was a small but important correction of the Julian calendar made in 1582 by the astronomers of Pope Gregory XIII.  And, finally, the week is an approximate quarter of the lunar cycle of 27.3 days.  (It has no provable historical connection with the Hebrew mythology expressed in the first chapter of the biblical book of Genesis.)

There is also an alternative calendar, the “International Fixed Calendar” of thirteen months, for which see  The additional month of Sol is interposed between current June and July.  The months have the following structure:

Days of the week Leap Day
in June
on leap years,
or Year Day
in December
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

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Deus vult ! — Þeedrich ( Inscriptio electronica :   )
Dies immutationis recentissimæ :  die Solis, 2013 Aug 9