Friday, October 14, 2011


October is my favorite month. November is a close second, but October is tops in my heart. It's my birthday month, but it isn't just the promise of my beloved cake that makes October so special. We'll get to some of the other amazing things about October shortly, but I had to share this word-related information with you first.

Every year, I wonder about the origins of the name "October," so I go read about it and it makes my brain hurt so I willfully forget until next year when I start the cycle all over again.

Is that guy's tunic doing what I think
it's doing?
October carries the Latin root octo, which means "eight." You may have noticed that October is the tenth month of the year, but it wasn't always. In the old Roman calendar, there were ten months in the year, of which October was the eighth. Now it's the tenth of twelve, but we still call it Eight. Got it?

Lots of the other months have cool etymologies, like the names of gods (Janus, Mars, Maia, Juno); or the names of historical figures (Julius and Augustus); or just really awesome words. February is named for the Roman purification festival Februa, and April comes from the Latin word aperire, which means "to open," on account of all the blossoming flowers and whatnot.

Then autumn rolls around, and we have September (septem = seven), October (octo = eight), November (novem = nine), and December (decem = ten). Numbers. And not even the right ones anymore. When January and February were tacked onto the beginning of the year, evidently no one could be bothered to renumber the calendar, or come up with any other deities or persons worth honoring with their own months.

So, that's all kind of dry. And wrong.

*Blind warrior woman and sword
sold separately.
Heaped on top of the wrong-number-for-a-birth-month-name thing, I was also born under the zodiac sign Libra, the scales. Of the whole zodiac, Libra is the only inanimate symbol. Everyone else gets scorpions and lions and virgins, but I got stuck with a side table decoration from Pier 1. I don't put any stock in zodiac stuff, but scales just aren't as inspiring as a crab, you know?

But there's lots of great stuff about October, too, which make it the very best.

There's the fact that it isn't summer. I live in the South, and summer here is pretty much hell. Hot temperatures combine with high humidity to stew us in our own sweat. Summer kicks in somewhere around Easter, and doesn't let up until late September. We just experienced one of the most brutal summers on record. The current temperatures still aren't what most people consider fall-like, but at least we're out of the triple digits until next year. October means an end to the homicidal weather. The cooler days invite us to leave our air-conditioned caves and come outside again.

October means Oktoberfest which means German food and beer. Beat that, June! Oh wait, you can't.

Pretty leaves.

Pretty leaves!

There's a feeling of good will in the air. It's all harvesty and bountiful and generous. We're not cranky from the summer heat anymore. The children are back into the swing of school, and the holidays are just around the corner. Looking forward to the good times on the horizon puts a spring in my step.

Halloween is so much fun. I love to see the kids in their costumes, dashing madly from house to house to accumulate their sugar horde. Plus, you can leave a pumpkin uncarved and it'll transition from Halloween to Thanksgiving. Pennywise porch decorations make me happy.

This gentleman knows how to get into the seasonal spirit.

Enjoy the rest of your October, dears. I know I will.


  1. Another October lover here! I need that gourdly gentleman pictured among my seasonal decor. NEED.

  2. Everyone needs that gourdly gentleman! Arcimboldo's paintings blow my mind. He was a sixteenth century Dali.

  3. Yes! Uncarved pumpkin transition decoration FTW!

  4. Luke and I just had fun identifying the parts that make the gourdly gentleman's whole. Fall fun, huzzah!

  5. I swear and me, adoration of words and research...(I used to skip school to go to the main library in my city) we really were probably separated at birth.

    August is my favorite month...for many reasons, but I feel alive at the beginning of a school year like no other time. But yes, hot. Very hot...

    Oh, and and my astrological sign is the only one NOT ruled by a planet, but rather a celestial body...the moon. Yes, I also put no stock in it. But combine my favorite month (being one of those late add on months named for the great and noble Augusti) and my celestial body...and you get, well, my kids :)

    Nerds Rule <3 Enjoy your month, and Happy Birthday!