Germanic calendar

The Germanic calendars were the regional agricultural almanacs used amongst the Germanic peoples, prior to the adoption of the Julian and later the Gregorian calendar.

The months were probably lunar; the Old English "mónaþ", Old Norse "mánaðr, and Old High German "mánód", as well as the modern English "month", modern Icelandic "mánuður", modern Swedish "månad", and the German "Monat", are all cognate with the word "moon".

The Germanic peoples had their own names for the months which varied by region and dialect, which were later replaced with local adaptations of the Roman month names. However, Germanic languages have largely kept the old Germanic names for the days of the week, most of which are named after Germanic gods.

Our main source of reference for Old English month names comes from the Venerable Bede (ca.672 - 735). He recorded the pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon month names in his Latin work known as De temporum ratione (De mensibus Anglorum).

Charlemagne (ca.742 or 747 - 814) modified the established Julian Calendar to use the agricultural Old High German names of the months in areas under his influence. (See Julian Calendar:Month names for other examples.) They were used until the 15th century, and with some modifications until the late 18th century in Germany and in the Netherlands (sensu lato). Some of these more recent German month names are given in the table below.

Month names

Modern English Old English Old Norse Old High German (and the New High German equivalent) Poetic German / Carolingian
January Æftera Jéola (After Yule) or Jiuli Morsugr or Jól (Yule) (the first half of the month) and Þorri (Thor) (the latter half) Harti-mánód (New High German: Härte monat, English: Month of Severe Frost) Hartung (Severeness), Eis-mond (Ice Month), or Schnee-mond (Snow Month)
February Sol-mónaþ (Sol Month) or Fillibrook (Brook-Filling) Þorri and Gói (Possibly Winter); Kyndilsmessa (candle/kindle-mass) Hornung (Hornung, Hornets) Hornung (Time of Hornets) )
March Hréð-mónaþ (Month of the Goddess Hréð or Month of Wildness ) Gói and Ein-mánuðr (???, and Single month) Lenzin-mánód (Lenz monat, Spring Month) Lenzing(Springing) or Lenz-mond (Springtime Month)
April Eostur-mónaþ("Easter Month", "Spring month") (see also: Goddess Eostre) Ein-mánuðr Óstar-mánód (Oster monat) ("Ostern(Easter) Month", see also Oster) Oster-mond (see also: Goddess Eostre)
May Þrimilci-mónaþ (Month of Three Milkings) ??? Drímilki (no common NHG equivalent), Winni-mánód (Wonne monat) Wonne-mond (Graze Month [later interpretation: Blissfulness Month])
June Ærra Líða (Before Midsummer) ??? and Sól-mánuðr (Sol month) Bráh-mánód (Brach monat) Brachet or Brach-mond (Fallow Month)
(None; leap month) Þrilíða (Third Midsummer) (none) (none) (none)
July Æftera Líða (After Midsummer) Sól-mánuðr and Heyannir (Sol's month, Haying) Hewi-mánōd or Hou-mánód (both Heu monat, hay month) Heuert or Heu-mond (Hay Month)
August Weod-mónaþ (Plant month) Heyannir (Hay month)and Tví-mánuðr (Double month) Aran-mánód (Ernte monat, Month of Harvest) Ernting or Ernte-mond (Harvesting, Crop Month / Harvest Month)
September Hálig-mónaþ (Holy Month) or Hærfest-mónaþ (Harvest Month) Tví-mánuðr and Haust-mánuðr (Harvest/autumn month) Witu-mánód (Holz monat, Month of Wood); or Herbist-mānōd (Leaves month, Herbst monat, Month of Harvest) Scheiding (Separating) or Herbst-mond (Autumn Month)
October Winterfylleþ (Winterfilled) or Rujern (Rye harvest) Windume-mánód (Weinlese monat, Month of Vintage) Gilbhart / Gilbhard (Forest Yellowing, ) or Wein-mond (Wine Month)
November Blót-mónaþ (Blót Month) Gor-mánuðr and Frer-mánuðr (Frost month) Wintar-mánód (Winter monat) Nebelung (Fogging) or Nebel-mond (Fog Month) or Winter-mond (Winter Month)
December Ærra Jéola (Before Yule) or Jiuli (Yule) Frer-mánuðr and Morsugr or Jól (Yule month) (Jul monat) Jul-mond (Yule Month) or Heil-mond (Holy Month) or Christ-mond (Christ Month)


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