• Steve Etherington

Origins of the names of the Months

The Roman Empire gave us the names in the calendar that we still use today.

(Roman Empire? Think of the Colosseum in Rome or the movie Gladiator!)

The months are named after Gods or Goddesses, or simply numerical.

JANUARY- from JANUS, Roman God of beginnings.

FEBRUARY- from FEBRUUS, God of purification.

MARCH - from MARS, God of war.

APRIL- from APHRODITE, Greek Goddess of love and beauty.

MAY- from MAIESTA or MAIA, Goddesses of honor and growth.

JUNE- from JUNO, Goddess of protection.

JULY- from the Emperor JULIUS CAESAR.

AUGUST- from the first Roman Emperor, CAESAR AUGUSTUS.


Named after Roman numbers (septem, octo, novem and decem)

This calendar was called the JULIAN calendar, named after JULIUS CAESAR, with July and August inserted. Before this, the calendar had only 10 months.

In 1582, this calendar was slightly modified to what we use today, the GREGORIAN calendar. (named after POPE GREGORY the 8th). It’s very complicated but more accurate. If we still used the Julian calendar today, the date would be about 2 weeks behind where it is today!!!


Steve Etherington is the head teacher at Stanton Eigo Gakuin (スタントン英語学院) in Takadanobaba, Tokyo. Steve has been teaching English in Japan for the last 5 years in elementary schools, junior high schools and eikaiwa.