How Did October Get Its Name? The months’ names reflect a mix of gods and goddesses, rulers, and numbers. This month, we focus on the month of October.
In the ancient Roman calendar, October was the name of the eighth month of the year. Its name comes from octo, the Latin word for “eight.” When the Romans converted to a 12-month calendar, they tried to rename this month after various Roman emperors, but the name October stuck!
In Old England, the month was called Winmonath, which means “wine month,” for this was the time of year when wine was made. The English also called it Winterfylleth, or “Winter Full Moon.” They considered this full Moon to be the start of winter. In weather lore, we note, “If October brings heavy frosts and winds, then will January and February be mild.”
October always had 31 days, and it became the tenth month of the year when the months of January and February were added, pushing October towards the end of the solar year, which is around 365.24 days long.
The Julian was substituted for the Gregorian calendar because it did not reflect the length of a year on Earth accurately enough. Today’s Gregorian calendar does a much better job at keeping up with our planet’s revolutions around the Sun, but even this calendar is not perfect.
October is in the fall in the Northern Hemisphere, the month after the autumnal equinox. However, as seasons are opposite on either side of the equator, October is in the spring in the Southern Hemisphere. The seasonal equivalent is April in the opposite hemisphere.
The month of October starts on the same day of the week as January in common years, but during leap years, October does not start on the same day of the week as any other month. It ends on the same day of the week as February every year and January in common years only.
Content for this question contributed by Michele Makuch, resident of Ludlow, Hampden County, Massachusetts, USA