Si Si Blog - Culture

Write a Comment

Culture, Arts, Biographies, Dance, Education, Fashion, Literature, Music

Calendar month names, so meaningless
by TheEtruscan at 18:26 June 2, 2014

Proposal for alternate calendar month names

The Julian calendar, introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BCE on the advice of the Egyptian astronomer Sosigenes of Alexandria, was the predominant calendar in the western world until it was refined and superseded by the Gregorian calendar in 1582 CE.

The calendar month names used in the western world have changed little over time and are derived from their Latin names.

As is, these month names do not convey any useful information about the seasons, let alone tell us what is going on astronomically on Earth.
Even more confusing and misleading - September, October, November and December are totally misnamed.

September is not the seventh month of the year but the ninth month. October is not the eighth month of the year but the tenth month. November is not the ninth month of the year but the eleventh month. December is not the tenth month of the year but the twelfth month. Originally they may have been in the chronological order implied by their names but with the insertion of the months of July and August they went out of kilter. Also these last four months are prosaically named and do not have any cultural or religious connotations.

The last attempt to rename the calendar months was during the French Revolution. New names for the calendar were suggested by Fabre d'Eglantine. On November 24, 1793 the French National Convention accepted the names. Abolished on January 1, 1806 by Emperor Napoleon I.

French Names
Nivose
Pluviose
Ventose
Germinal
Floreal
Prairial
Messidor
Thermidor
Fructidor
Vendemiaire
Brumaire
Frimaire
in English
Snow
Rain
Wind
Seed
Blossom
Meadow
Harvest
Heat
Fruits
Vintage
Mist
Frost
Actual Names
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
Origin of names
Janus = beginnings
Februa = purification
Mars
Aphrodite or aperio = to blossom
Maia
Juno
Julius Caesar
Augustus Caesar
Septem = seven
Octo = eight
Novem = nine
Decem = ten
Proposed Names
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
Equinocem
Libracem
Oncember
Solsticem

A nice try by the French to adhere to climatic and seasonal reality but falling short of the mark! The Southern Hemisphere does not share Parisian weather conditions at the same time of the year and which are totally improbable in the tropical regions.

I propose a more modest and more fitting rename of those months that are misleading anyway. Equinocem for September, Libracem for October, Oncember for November and Solsticem for December. The -ium suffix is taken by chemistry so the -em (or -er) suffix is used. The new names speak for themselves.

The autumnal equinox occurs in September, most of October is in the the zodiacal sign of Libra, November is the eleventh month of the year and onze/once is French and Spanish for eleven and the winter solstice occurs in December. Of course in the Southern Hemisphere there are the spring equinox in September and the summer solstice in December.

This renaming could be carried out gradually by having both names printed on calendars for some transitional time.