Names of the months and their meaning

Posted on 10. Jun, 2011 by in Culture, Vocabulary

We already talked about days of the week and their meaning (http://blogs.transparent.com/polish/days-of-the-week-and-their-meaning/), so now it is times for months!

The names of Polish months are unique in the way that Poland did not adopt Roman names – like many other countries in Europe (France, Germany, Russia). Original, non-Latin names for the months of the year also exist in some other languages – like Czech, Croatian, Lithuanian or Basque. But this is rather an exception than the rule.

The months names are related to the farmers calendar through the year.

Styczeń – stykać means “to meet” – “to join” since the old year “meets” the new year in January

Luty – luty in old Polish means “fierce”, “bitter frost”, “freezing cold”

Marzec – from marznąć meaning ” to freeze”. Some people believe that this name comes also from Roman God “Martius” – in Polish Mars.

Kwiecień – from kwiecie – flowers – a blooming month.

Maj – this is the only name which was adopted from Roman calendar devoted to goddess Maia. Maia was the Roman female deity of growth or fertility.This name gained its own meaning in the Polish language, for instance as majówka- the outdoor trip.

Czerwiec – from czerw meaning “grab” – the larva of a bee or moth. In this month people were picking up the larvas, dry them in the sun and then made from it a red or purple die (pigment); therefore the name “czerw” comes from “redden” and some sources also derive the name of Polish June from a Polish word “czerwienić” – to redden or ripen

Lipiec – from lipa – “linden tree” – which flowers in that time; this tree is very popular in Poland (There is a famous poem by Kochanowski “Na lipę” )

Sierpień – sierp is “a sickle” used for harvesting (tool to cut the hay, grass or wheat)

Wrzesień – from wrzosy – “heather” that beautifully purple in that time of the year

Październik – from paździerz – tow, wooden dry part remained from flax or hemp. In the past flax and hemp was used for making cloths. In that time of the year the wind was carrying out “paździerze” – the wooden waste remained after flax and hemp – all over the fields.

Listopad – spadające liście – falling leaves.

Grudzień – gruda – hardened ground which is caused by cold weather.

By the way, Polish names of the months are written not with capital letters like in English.

Please let me know if I missed anything in comments below.

About Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew up in Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business at the University of Warsaw. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with her Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they was born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.

6 Responses to “Names of the months and their meaning”

  1. Barbara 11 June 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    I always enjoy reading your posts and learning from them.

  2. Oszkár 12 June 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    That’s great, Kasia! Dziękuję! I have only one question. Does stykać have anything to do with spotykać?

  3. Hoosier41 13 June 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    Really enjoyed this post. Is there any way to print just this post for future reference?

    Thanks

  4. Kasia 14 June 2011 at 7:50 pm #

    You can probably just highlight the text and paste it into word document.

  5. Kasia 14 June 2011 at 7:53 pm #

    They are very similar. You usually use stykać when you talk about objects and spotykać is usually used when you talk about people.

  6. lorraine enlow 18 July 2013 at 5:23 pm #

    How very interesting….I’m printing this one out so I can remember the names when I change our calendar each month. Thanks,


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