03 March 2014

I am so glad that Solmonath is finally over

"The word February comes from the Roman festival of purification called Februa where people were ritually washed. There is a Roman god called Februus, but he is named after the festival, not the other way around. Other months, like January, are named after Roman gods.

The interesting linguistic story, though, lies in England. Before we adopted the Latin name for the second month, Old English used much more vibrant names to describe it. The most common Old English name was Solmonath, which literally means “mud month.” It is pretty clear what they were describing. A lesser-used term was Kale-monath, which meant “cabbage month.” We can imagine that the English were eating a lot of cabbage in February in the 1100s."


  1. Oops. I already mentioned this and you blogged it here.

  2. Thank you for this post.
    Made me look up the months' old German names. Turns out some of them are even still in use today, if only in dialects and sayings.

    BTW: One of the names for february in German was "Narrenmond" which translates to "fools' month" and makes it "the month of carnival".


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