The Gregorian calendar was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in October 1582 as a modification of previous Julian calendar to adjust the date for celebration of Easter. The twelve months were named after Roman gods, leaders, festivals and numbers. Here we list the 12 origins for the names of twelve months in the calendar.

January - Janus

An image of Janus

The month of January was named after Roman god Janus. Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions in Roman mythology. This was done so because Janus has two faces which makes him possible to see the past and the future. Since it is the first month of the year when we can look back at the past year and look forward tot the new year.

February - Februa

Portrait of Roman purification festival

The month of February was named after Februa, the Roman festival of purification which was held on February 15 (full moon) in the old lunar Roman calendar.

March - Mars

The statue of Mars at the Capitoline Museums in Rome, Italy

The month of March was named after Mars, the Roman god of war. The old Roman calendar had ten months originally and began with the month of March, January and February were added later.

April - Aphrodite

The statue of Aphrodite at the National Archaeological Museum, Athens

The month of April was named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, after which the Latin word Aprilis was derived.

May - Maia

A detail of Maia from a 500 BC vase

The month of May was named after the Greek goddess Maia, who was one of the Pleiades and the mother of Hermes by Zeus.

June - Juno

A statue of Roman goddess Juno

The month of June was named after the Roman goddess Juno, the goddess of marriage and the wife of the supreme deity Jupiter, the god of the sky and thunder.

July - Julius Caesar

The Tusculum portrait, the only surviving sculpture of Caesar

The month of July was named after the Roman general Julius Caesar, by the Roman Senate in 44 B.C, as it was the month of his birth.

August - Augustus

Augustus of Prima Porta, a full-length portrait statue of Augustus Caesar

The month of August was named in honor of Emperor Augustus, the greatest Caesar of all. This month was chosen as it was the time of several of his great triumphs, including the conquest of Egypt.

September - septem

The name for the month of September is derived from septem, which meant seven in Latin. In the old Roman calendar (calendar of Romulus) it was the seventh of the ten months.

October - ôctō

The name for the month of October is derived from ôctō, which meant eight in Latin and Greek. In the old Roman calendar it was the eighth of the ten months.

November - novem

The name for the month of November is derived from novem, which meant nine in Latin. In the old Roman calendar it was the ninth of the ten months.

December - decem

The name for the month of December is derived from decem, which meant ten in Latin. In the old Roman calendar it was the tenth and last month of the year.

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