Wondering Why?

Why is October not the 8th month?

Why is October not the 8th month?

October is the tenth month of the revised calendar, known as the Gregorian calendar. October literally was intended to be named for the eighth month because the word octo means eight. Before the modern calendar was used, it was the Julian calendar that was followed and utilized by the people. The Julian calendar was introduced by Julius Caesar. It has only ten months and the approximation of the days in this type of calendar was said to be 365 and ¼ days, which in reality is in excess of one day. This approximation is observed only when leap year is expected to occur, which usually takes place every four years. The first month in the Julian calendar was Martius for March, followed by Aprilis for April, Maius for May, Lunius for June, Quintilis or July, Sextilis or August, then September for the seventh month, October for the 8th, November for the 9th and December for the 10th month.

It was not until 1582 that the Gregorian calendar was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after he noticed that the Julian calendar drifted 10 full days off. To put a remedy to the identified problem, he removed the leap years from the century years and added two months before the first indicated month in the Julian calendar. This is why the months January and February have come to exist, moving the rest of the months up causing its names not to match their number. The Pope did not bother anymore to change the names found in the Julian calendar to avoid any confusion since the people already became familiar with it.

Up until today, it is the Gregorian calendar that is still being used, regardless of the meanings of the names associated with the months.

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