Months in Polish calendar - Origin and Meaning
The names of Polish months are unique in the way that Poland did not
adopt Roman names - like many other countries in Europe (France, Germany,
Russia). Original, non-Latin names for the months of the year also exist
in some other languages - like Czech (but not Slovak), Croatian, Lithuanian
or Basque. But this is rather an exception than the rule.
Check the website with the names
for the months of the year in several languages. Check also another
article devoted to the
origin of the days of the week in Poland.
It is worth to mention that even in the cultures that adopted Roman names
there is an effort to recreate original pre-Roman names - like in Russia
or Germany. For instance according to the old German language the name
for January - in German Januar has its own German name - Wintermanoth
Refrerring to the Roman calendar, the names of the months derive
either from the Roman names of the gods: (January - June), from
the names of the ceasars: Julius Ceasar and Augustus Caesar (July-August).
The names from September to December originate from the Latin successive
numbers for a given month which is a bit confusing since September
comes from Latin "septem" meaning seventh since
September was originally the seventh month of the year and the year originally
started in March and lasted only 10 months. Two winter months were unnamed
since they were not important in agriculture. October means the
eight (octo), November - the ninth (novem) and December
- the tenth [month].
Now, let me focus on the meaning of the months in Polish language, tradition
and history. The months names are related to the farmers calendar through
- Styczeń - stykac means "to meet" -
"to join" since he old year "meets: the new year
- Luty - luty in old Polish means "fierce",
"bitter frost", "freezing cold"
- Marzec - from marznac meaning " to freeze".
Some people believe that this name comes also from Roman God "Martius"
- in Polish Mars.
- Kwiecień - from kwiecie - flowers - a blooming month.
- Maj - this is the only name which was adopted from Roman calendar
devoted to goddess Maia. Maia was the Roman female deity of growth
or fertility.This name gained its own meaning in the Polish language,
for instance as majowka- the outdoor trip.
- Czerwiec - from czerw meaning "grab"
- the larve of a bee or moth. In this month people were picking up the
larves dry them in the sun and then made from it a red or purple die
(pigment); therefore the name "czerw" comes from "redden"
and some sources also derive the name of Polish June from a Polish word
"czerwienic" - to redden or rippen
- Lipiec - from lipa - "linden tree"
- which flowers in that time; this tree is very popular in Poland. There
is a famous poem by Kochanowski "Na lipe" (about Linden
tree) - "gosciu siadz pod ma lipa a odpoczyn sobie" - "dear
visitor -please sit under my linden tree and relax" . Read Love and Lore of the Linden
- Sierpień - sierp is "a sickle"
used for harvesting (tool to cut the hay, grass or wheat)
- Wrzesień - from wrzosy - "heather"
that beautifully purple in that time of the year
- Październik - from paździerz - tow, wooden
dry part remained from flax or hemp. In the past flax and hemp was used
for making cloths. In that time of the year the wind was carrying out
"paździerze" - the wooden waste remained after
flax and hemp - all over the fields.
- Listopad - padajace liscie - falling leaves.
- Grudzień - gruda - hardened ground which is caused by
It is worth to mention that some of the months names are similar in common
to several Slavic lanuages for instance
"listopad" which is 11th month (November is Poland) has
the same name for October in Croatian and Slovenian and November in Czech.
The most similarities are between Polish and Czech languages. In Czech
"kveten" is the fifth month but its name resembles Polish
April's name - "kwiecien", "cerven" for Czech
Mai is similar to Polish "czerwiec" for June and "srpen"
Polish August's name sierpien.
By the way, Polish names of the months are written not with capital
letters like in English.
But some months names in Czech are very different from Polish - for instance
December is called "prosinec" - month of hog-killing
(originally prasinec, prase = hog).
In this aspect Polish name for December (grudzien) is similar rather
to Ukrainian: "gruden".
Check the following article about the
origin of the names of the week. Check
calendars and important events in Polish culture, food
recipes and Polish
traditions and habits in Polish Culture.
Learn the history of
Polish in WWII
and the war's beginning. If you are interested in researching more about
SocialStudiesHelp.com is the place.
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for a wide selection of cookbooks with recipes for Polish food
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