December

December is the twelfth and last month of the year. It is also the last in this series. If you want to read about any other month of the year then click the word ‘Months’ in the Categories in the column on the right.

December used to be the tenth month and the word ‘decem’ is the Latin word for ten. When January and February were later added December became month number twelve.

December’s flower is the holly and its birthstone is the turquoise (which happens to be my favourite colour!).

October

The name October comes from the Latin word ‘octo’ meaning ‘eight’, (as in octopus). Originally October was the eighth month of the year until January and February were added which pushed it back to number 10.

October’s birthstone is opal and its flower is cosmos.

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September

This was the seventh month of the year until January and February were added in 153 BC. The Latin word for seventh is ‘septem’.

In about 40 AD the Roman emperor Caligula tried to change the name to Germanicus, his father’s name, but without success. I think September sounds better.

The flower for September is the morning glory, and the birthstone is a sapphire.

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August

August is the eighth month of the year, but it was first called Sextilis (meaning sixth), and was the sixth month. However when January and February were added it became number eight.

It is named after the Roman emperor Augustus (born 63BC, died 14AD), who was the most famous of all Roman leaders. His original name was Octavius, but his name was changed to Augustus (from the Latin word ‘augere’, meaning ‘to increase’) because he was able to increase and improve the Roman Empire. Many of Augustus’ finest victories came in the month of Sextilis, so the month’s name was changed to August.

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July

July was originally the fifth month of the year and was called ‘Quintillus’, which simply means fifth. In 450BC, when January and February were added, it became the seventh month.

The name was changed to July, after the Roman emperor Julius Caesar, who was born on July 12th 100BC. Caesar was a very successful politician and army general, and had many military victories. He led the Roman invasion of England in 55BC when the Romans introduced many things to the wild people of England, including politics, sewers, baths, straight roads, and a lot of vocabulary (but not so much grammar!).

July’s flower is the water-lily, and its birthstone is a ruby.

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June

The name of June comes from the Roman goddess, Juno, who is the wife of Jupiter, the top god, and the mother of Mars, the god of war. Juno is the goddess of marriage, and June is thought to be the best month to get married.

June is also the month when the longest daytime occurs (this year it is June 21st), and this is known as the summer solstice. At this time the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer. However, for southern countries it is the shortest day.

And don’t forget father’s day, which is celebrated in many countries on the 3rd Sunday in June, this year it is June 17th.

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