In most European languages the names of the months are based on the Roman calendar.

As a result they are easy to recognise and understand for speakers of any of those languages.

Take the month of February, for example:

  • February (English)
  • Februar (German)
  • фебруар Februar (Serbian)
  • Februar (Bosnian)
  • Février (French)
  • Febbraio (Italian)
  • Februari (Swedish)
  • Φεβρουάριος Februarios (Greek)

The months and their meanings in Croatian

In contrast to this, in Croatian the months originate from archaic Slavic words and phrases which poetically depict the changing of the seasons and the different tasks related to those seasons:

– January
timber-cutting time

– February
probably from the pagan Slavic festival “Velja noć”

– March
“lying month”, the weather’s very unstable

– April
the season of growing grass

– May
the time of budding trees and plants

– June
linden-blossom time

– July
harvest time

– August
time for driving the harvest wagon

– September
season of animal mating

– October
leaves are staring to fall

– November
month of cold

– December
month of begging

Did you know?
Croatians often refer to the months informally by number, e.g. (short version of prvi mjesec – first month, i.e. January), (second month, February), (third month, March), rather than by using their proper names.

How about other slavic languages?

Although the names of the months are similar in Polish and Czech, some of them represent different months! For example, in Czech and Polish listopad means November – rather than October in Croatian – perhaps because the leaves stay on the trees longer in those countries?

As illustrated in the example above, both Bosnian and Serbian use the Latin month names. This is one of the reasons why you'll be generally understood in Croatia if you use these relatively 'standard' words.

Did you know?
In most languages the word for month originates from the word moon, since months originally corresponded to lunar phases. In Croatian the same word mjesec means both moon and month.

Some useful vocabulary when talking about months!

– calendar

– month

– year

– last month

– next month

– each month

– season

– monthly

– spring

– summer

– autumn

– winter

Test yourself with our vocabulary trainer!

Below you'll find a multiple choice quiz for the days of the week set. If you enjoy the quiz, take a look at our vocabulary trainer page, there are lots more word groups to test yourself on!

Which word means:   January

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