What's in a name - February

What's in a name - February

Jan 30, 2012, 7:01 AM |

Ever wonder why we call next month February?

It wasn't always that way...in fact, once upon a time, the calendar only had 10 months...absolutely no January or February.  And New Years Day was celebrated on March 1!  

 And we think that time flies today!

Here's the first clue that everything is not quite right with our calendar.  October is currently our 10th month.  But wait a minute (you might have said), doesn't oct mean 8.  You know...as in octogon and octopus.  And that's because at one time, October WAS our 8th month.

Same thing with December.  Dec actually means 10.  As in the DECimal system. 

Do you begin to see how the names of these months made more sense in the old days?

So what happened and when did the calendar change...and where do January and February fit in?

Give credit to the King of Rome, Numa Pompilius.  Around 700 B.C., he first added January, which comes from Janus...the Roman God of the Doorway.  That's also where our word for janitor comes from, ie. doorkeeper.

In the King's infinite wisdom, he also added the month of February.  This name comes from Februa...a Roman spring ritual of purification. 

This also answers the question of origin of the term "spring cleaning".

Well...everybody have a great February. 

And for those of you born on February 29...you WILL have a birthday this year!!