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By Any Other Nomenclature

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I don’t know what rose Shakespeare was referring to, but it’s been my experience from ten years in the Garden Center at Exwork that most of them don’t have a fragrance, and some even stink.  Maybe it has to do with the panicked efforts of venders to reduce cost, so they created roses without scent because they took less time to grow. No one at Exwork could or would verify that.

What I do know is that I have wondered, starting at age twelve, why months and days were named the way they are.  I didn’t stress about it then; I was just vaguely curious. Years later I looked it up in a library, and then I forgot about it.  Many more years later (the other month, after a grandson asked me about it) I researched the names on line, and here’s what I found, abbreviated because history is really very messy.

   January is named after Janus, the god of beginnings, from Middle English (ME) “Januari(us),” and Old English (OE) “Januarius.”

   Feburary is named for an ancient feast of purification, “Februa,” not a god.  Latin “Februarius.”

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   March is from Latin “Martius,” month of Mars.

   April is from Latin “Aprilis,” which may have come from the name of the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite.

   May is from the Greek goddess of spring, Maia.

   June is named after the goddess Juno, queen of the gods.

   July is named after Julius Caesar, though its original name was “quintilis,” for the fifth month in the early Roman calendar.

   August is named after Augustus Caesar, and again it had a different name: Sextilis, which was the sixth month in the early calendar.

The rest of their original ten-month calendar remained based on the names of numbers: September is seventh month, October is eighth, November is ninth, and December is tenth based on Decem, where we get the word “decimate” which back then meant one out of ten.  I don’t know what happened; maybe some newbie historian said screw it, I have more important things to do than change the names of months.

   Sunday is Day of the Sun from OE “sunandaeg,” Latin “dies Solis.”

   Monday is Day of the Moon from OE “mondaeg,” Latin “Lunae dies.”

   Tuesday is from ME “tewesday” from OE “tiwesdaeg,” from Old High German “war god Tiw,” but it means Day of Mars from Latin “dies Martis.” 

   Wednesday is ME “wednesdai” from OE “wednesdaeg,” which came from “Woden’s day,” a Norse god, but means Day of Mercury, Latin “Mercuru dies.”

   Thursday is ME and OE “Thursdaeg” which came to us via Germanic translation into Norse “Thursdagr” and means Thor’s day, but was originally from Latin “dies Jovis.”

    Friday is Freya’s day, ME and OE “Frigedaeg.”  She’s a complicated goddess, designated as the “party girl” of Asgard.

   Saturday is ME “Saturdai” from  OE “Saternesdaeg” which means “Saturn’s day” from Latin “Saturni dies.”  Wow, that’s easy to follow.

   I think we should rename them all.  I choose more modern famous people. My list is preferential and subject to change, but here’s what I’ve decided for now:

   Montgomery for January (Elisabeth, from Bewitched—both have “ry” at the end). 

   Fibonacci for February (of the famous numbers).

   Martin for March (Ross, from The Wild, Wild West TV show).

   Albert for April (Einstein of E=MC squared fame).

   Marshall for May (William of movies and TV).

   June can stay June (Lockhart of movies and TV).

   Julie for July (Andrews of mainly movies and singing).

   Vangogh for August (Vincent, the painter).

   Santana for September (the band).

   Oscar for October (the character in The Odd Couple).

   Nobel for November (Alfred, of the coveted prize).

   DaVinci for December (Leonardo, the renaissance artist).

   Kobiday for Sunday (Bryant, the NBA star).

   Mooreday for Monday (Mary Tyler, of TV and movies).

   Taylorsday for Tuesday (both Elizabeth and James).

   Gwynnesday for Wedneday (Fred, of TV and movies).

   Tchaikovshyday for Thursday (the composer).

   Freddieday for Friday (Prinze of standup and TV).

   Nimoyday for Saturday (Leonard, from Star Trek TOS and related movies and shows).

   You may disagree with my choices, but hey, such time by any other nomenclature would last as long.

Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil is a reporter for the Hernando Sun as well as a business technology developer, specializing in website development, content management systems, and data analysis.
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