What was the name of February?

Vladimir Doneshko
Vladimir Doneshko
March 6, 2013
What was the name of February?

February is the last month of winter. The name itself has Latin roots. Februarius in Latin means "purification." In ancient Rome, February closed the year, that is, it was the last month, and with its advance the Romans tried to clean out all the bad things that had accumulated over the course of the year. Therefore, the month was named after the rite of repentance and cleansing from sins. According to another version, this month is named after the ancient Greek god of the underworld Februus or Febra. In European countries, the name of this month most often has a similar sound. For example, in Spain it is called “febrera”, in Italy - “febrano”, in France - “febris”. But in Lithuania, for example, the second month of the year is called “Vasaris”. It is rather interesting, why they called February “safoar” in the Muslim calendar. In translation, this word means "yellow", a period when the plants turn yellow and fade.

The name of this month, “February,” came to Russia from Byzantium. However, the etymology of the Slavic names of the last winter month is no less interesting:

  • Constant snowstorms and blizzards influenced the way February was called by the Slavs - “lute” or “wind blow”.
  • Since the end of the 19th century, the name “slice” has taken root, also etymologically associated with February blizzards, although earlier this name was assigned to January.
  • In connection with the snowstorms sweeping the roads and thaws replacing them, such February folk names appeared as "krivodorog", "kazibrod", "kazidorog".
  • But the popular names “low water”, “ziebor” indicate that February separates winter and spring.
  • The popular name of February "bokogrey" indicates the February thaw, when the cattle were driven out to warm their sides in the sun.
  • In the Russian chronicles, in connection with the winter weddings held from the day of the Epiphany to Shrovetide, February is also called wedding.

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