spanish months of the year

Did you know that, after parting ways with Garfunkel, folk artist Paul Simon recorded a Latin-rhythms-influence song named “Me and Julio Down by the School Yard?

The irony, at least as far as we’re concerned, is quite thick. Perhaps Paul was a big fan of the month of July.

Regardless, learning the months of the year in Spanish is a critical part of mastering the language. Let’s dive in.

How do You Say the Months of the Year in Spanish?

The answer is pretty simple, just look at the table below. Remember that Spanish is a phonetic language so if you know how to sound each letter you should be able to read and pronounce the months in Spanish without trouble.

ENGLISH SPANISH
January Enero
February Febrero
March Marzo
April Abril
May Mayo
June Junio
July Julio
August Agosto
September Septiembre
October Octubre
November Noviembre
December Diciembre

What is the Origin of the Spanish Names of the Months?

spanish months of the year

As you can notice, there are a few similarities between Spanish and English. This is no coincidence because the names for each month are derived from the Roman calendar and thus share the same Latin root.

The Spanish names of the months have their origin in Roman gods, emperors or numbers.

The Roman calendar originally contained only 10 months but it was then increased to 12 months imitating the Egyptians.

Through time, the Roman calendar suffered a few modifications, the most memorable being the creation of the Julian calendar.

This was then spread through the Roman Empire and across Europe, and used until the XV century when the Gregorian calendar appeared and was enforced by the Pope.

The Gregorian calendar is aligned with the solar year and is nowadays used in most parts of the world. That is why the months of the year are similar in different languages!

Example for January:

It was named after the God “Janus”.

  • French: Janvier
  • Italian: Gennaio
  • Spanish: Enero
  • Portuguese: Janeiro
  • German: Januar

Example for September:

The name comes from the Latin number “septem”, which means seven.

  • French: Septembre
  • Italian: Settembre
  • Spanish: Septiembre
  • Portuguese: Setembro
  • German: September

Are Spanish Days, Months, and Holidays Capitalized?

Nope! In English, according to the Spelling rules, the seven days of the week, the twelve months of the year, and most popular holidays such as Christmas and Easter fall in the category of proper names and therefore are capitalized.

However, this rule does not apply to Spanish.

Let’s look at ‘April’ and ‘Abril’, which hold a huge parallel between both languages:

  • ‘April’ is an English proper name whose first letter should be written in uppercase or majuscule.
  • Whereas ‘abril’ is a Spanish common name that should be written with the first «a» in lowercase or minuscule.

The Royal Academy of the Spanish Language (Real Academia de la Lengua Española or RAE for its initials) explains, in the Diccionario prehispánico de dudas, that the months are always spelled without capital letters, with the following exceptions:

  1. When they are part of a proper name of a festivity, a building, a street, a proper name of a particular kind of produce, public space such as a square or garden, and a historic event.
  2. When the punctuation rules demand it, like following a full stop at the beginning of a sentence (when ‘abril’ is the first appearing word of a given sentence). 

Example of capitalized months:

  • Proper names for produce: Flor de Mayo Criollo and Flor de Junio Marcela are two varieties of beans grown around México.
  • Festivity: The “Fiestas of Cinco de Mayo”! Mexicans and many Hispanic families in the U.S. celebrate the victory of the Batalla de Puebla, a confrontation between the Mexican and the French army that took place on the 5th of May in 1862.
  • Historic event: The Primavera de Praga is the name given to the period of time between the 5th of January and the 20th of August of 1968; when Czechoslovakia attempted to liberate itself from the political influence of the Soviet Union during the Cold War aftermath.
  • Public space: The Plaza del Dos de Mayo in Madrid has a monument to commemorate the battle that the people of the City fought against Napoleon in order to win their freedom.

What about the Seasons?

spanish months

Let’s look at the Spanish seasons since you are learning about the months of the year. Here is a list of the four seasons in English and Spanish. It is easy to spot that in this instance there are no similarities like in the months of the year.

ENGLISH SPANISH
Spring Primavera
Summer Verano
Autumn Otoño
Winter Invierno

When it comes to the four seasons written in English, they only need a capital letter when they are used as characters or are personified in poetry or children´s books for example; otherwise, seasons are spelled without capital letters.

Example:

  • This summer has been hotter than last year.
  • The forest was still asleep, until the arrival of jolly Spring, when all the creatures heard its chanting voice and awoke to the rhythm of the magnificent blooming flowers.

In Spanish, the seasons are always spelled with lower caps, apart from for when they form part of a proper name of a festivity, a building, a street, a public space or a historic event.

Example:

Are Months in Spanish Feminine or Masculine?

The months in Spanish are always masculine and the seasons can be feminine or masculine.

Consequently, they require different articles:

  • Los meses del calendario. -> The months of the calendar.
  • Las estaciones del año. -> The seasons of the year.
  • La primavera es mi temporada favorita del año. -> Spring is my favorite season of the year.
  • El verano, el otoño y el invierno son masculinos. -> Summer, autumn, and Winter are masculine.

Bear in mind that all individual names for the months of the year in Spanish are masculine.

In addition, the months standing as group (aka using the plural ‘meses’) or standing on their own (singular ‘mes’) are also masculine.

Simple to remember!

Spanish Baby Names inspired by the Months

months of the year in Spanish

Most Castilian speaking countries, especially those who were conquered by Spain during colonial times, are still influenced by the Catholic Church and characters such as Saints, Popes, blessed sisters and brothers (such as “Diosdado” which directly translates to “Godgiven”), or even by entire chapters of the Bible.

Nonetheless, nowadays is very common to choose from all kinds of names for newborns!

A few months are used as proper names for girls and boys; and in some cases, they become feminine or masculine, in alignment to the gender of the person like Julia (girl) and Julio (boy) or Maya (girl) and Mayo (boy).

In any instance, they should always be capitalized!

Endearing names for baby girls:

  • The most popular is Abril.
  • Followed by Julia.
  • Maya has gained recent popularity but more because of the ancient Mayan civilization than for the fifth month of the calendar.
  • Although ‘June’ is commonplace for baby girls in English speaking territories, it would be very unconventional to find a Junia in Spain or Latin America!

Powerful names for boys:

  • The name Julio was widespread by the famous Roman Politician Gaius Julius Caesar, who actually created the Julian calendar. But in modern times, Julio César Chávez, one of the world´s greatest boxers and his success on the ring has helped to popularize the compound name Julio César all around Mexico and other Latin American countries.
  • Mayo and its variation Mayolo may not be all the rage but you may like them!

Ready to learn more about the months in Spanish?

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spanish months of the year

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