Old English Name
Suggested Meaning of Old English Name
|[Æftera]-Geol-monaþ||‘After-Yule-month’ (second passing / changing month)||January|
|Sol-monaþ||‘[Returning] Sun-month’; also called ‘ Flat Cakes’ Month’||February|
|Hreð-monaþ||‘month of Hreða’ (‘glory-goddess’)||March|
|Eostur-monaþ||‘month of the Eostre [Easter]’ (goddess of ‘the radiant dawn’)||April|
|Ðrimilce-monaþ||‘month of Three milkings’ (cows milked three times a day)||May|
|[Ærra]-Liða-monaþ||‘First Travelling month’ (‘líðian’, to travel, sail, glide)||June|
|[Æftera]-Liða-monaþ||‘Second Travelling month’ (some years had three)||July|
|Weod-monaþ||‘Weed-month’ (still a problem)||August|
|Halig-monaþ||‘Holy month’ (Harvest Month)||September|
|Winter-fylleð||‘Winter full moon month’ (hunters’ moon: first full moon of Autumn)||October|
|Blot-monaþ||‘Blood (sacrifice) month’ (surplus livestock killed off before winter)||November|
|[Ærra]-Geol-monaþ||‘Before-Yule-month’ (first passing / changing / month)||December|
|Modra-niht||‘Mothers’ Night’ (longest night: birth of the new solar year)||Christmas|
This calendar is largely based on information supplied yet again by dear old Bede. In his scientific treatise On Chronology, written in the early eighth century, he provides us with the names of the pre-Christian Old English months of the year [ch.15].
© Copyright Dr Sam Newton, Blotmonaþ AD 2000
Kenneth Harrison, The Framework of Anglo-Saxon History to AD900 (Cambridge 1976), especially pp.1-14.
C.W.Jones (ed.), Bedae Opera de Temporibus (Cambridge, Mass. 1943).
A.L.Meaney, “Bede and Anglo-Saxon Paganism”, Parergon ns 3 (1985), pp.1-29, especially pp.2-8.