Monday, February 4, 2013

February or Mud Month? from Lazaro

Dear Word Spy,

Now school is back and every day we have to write February at the top of the page. And I was wondering why February is spelled like that because it doesn't seem like it should spell like that. The other months are better don't you think?

Your new fan


Dear Lazaro,

Happy new February to you!

I know what you mean about the spelling - I still get mixed up where to put the "r".

February is a Roman word for this month. It comes from a word in Latin (the language the Romans spoke) - "februa" -  which meant special rituals that people did at that time to make things clean and pure.

It wasn't always called February though - in the old days in England that time of year used to be called Mud Month, because it was very muddy in England when the snow melted. It also was sometimes called Cabbage Month (maybe they had to eat lots of cabbages!)

The Latin names for the months really come from the Christian church,  because the monks used the Latin language long after all the ancient Romans had gone.  Maybe some people still liked the old names, but by the time the Gregorian Calendar (our modern calendar) was introduced in 1582, the old words disappeared pretty much for good.

Hey, but maybe tomorrow instead of writing "February" at the top of the page, you could write "Mud Month" and see what happens ...

from your pal, every month of the year,

The Word Spy

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