Fri

01

Mar

2013

Yayoi

It's already March!  In old days, March was called "Yayoi"  (Pronounciation; Ya-yoi /Yay-oi) in Japanese, meaning "Growing more" or "New life."   Because of this good meaning, the word "Yayoi" has been popular for Japanese girl's name who were born in March.   I think this given name is familiar to some of you, and I know some Yayoi-san..

 

Nowadays, names of the months are simply used by numbers from one to twelve in Japanese (For example, January is called "Ichi-gatsu", meaning "the month of one," ) but traditional names are still in common, especially for letters or poetries.  

 

In western cultures, as you may know, names of the months are named after Latin numbers and some months were named after Roman/Greek Gods.   However, because of the appearances of two outstanding Romans in the history, names were changed;  The founder of Roman Empire changed the name of the month of 7 into July after Julius Caesar, and then the month of eight were changed to August after his name, Augustus.  Therefore, September (meaning "the month of 7") became the month of "9" and October (meaning "the month of 8") has become the month of 10. So are November (the month of 9) and December (the month of 10).

 

This time, I took some time to make the following list of both English and Japanese names of the months... because I couldn't find the web site to cover both English and Japanese names of the months.  Though it was nothing to do with Buddhism, but it was very interesting to know both origins of the months. And I hope this will be interesting for you, too.

 

 

English Name

Meaning

Japanese Name

Traditional Name

Meaning

January

Month of Janus, who is a God of gate. Janus in Latin means gate or doorway.

 

Ichi-Gatsu (一月)1

Mutsuki  

睦月

Month of "Fellowship."  means harmony affection and means moon or month.

February

Month of Purification. Februere* (Latin) means "Purification." "Februs" means "to offer Wine to gods."

*Wikipedia says, februum

Ni-Gatsu

(二月)

 2

Kisaragi 

如月

着更月

Month of "Wearing more Clothes."

 

March

Month of Mars, who is a Greek God of War and agriculture.

San-Gatsu (三月)3

Yayoi 弥生

Month of "Growing more." =more  生=Birth, Grow, to live

April

Month of "Aperio," which is a starting year of all the plants.

Shi-Gatsu(四月)

 4

Uzuki 卯月

Month of "a flower, Deutzia." U =Deutzia=

May

Month of "Maia," who is a Goddess of Growth and prosperity.  This was also  the month to mourn.

Go-Gatsu(五月)

 5

Satsuki 

皐月

早苗月

Month of "Planting rice early."

 

June

Month of Juno or Junious who is wife of Jupitor, Roman goddess.

Roku-Gatsu(六月)

6

Minazuki 水無月

Month of "No water."

**Some insist,  it means "Month of plenty Water"

July

Month of Julius Caesar (100BC-44 BC) who was a Roman General.

Shichi-Gatsu

(七月)

7

Fumitsuki 文月

Month of "Letters or Books." 文=sentence, letters 月=month

August

Month of Augustus, Gaius Octavianus (63BC - 14AD) who was the first Emperor of Roman Empire.

Hachi-Gatsu

(八月)

8

Hazuki 

葉月

Month of "Fallen leaf."   葉=leaf  

September

Month of "Seven." Septem (Latin) means 7.

Ku-Gatsu

(九月)

9

Nagatsuki 長月

Month of Long night...     長=long

October

Month of "Eight." Octo(Latin)means 8.

Ju-Gatsu

(十月)

10

Kannazuki 神無月

Month of "No Gods". since this was the months gods were travelling.  神=Gods 無=Non

November

Month of "Nine." Novem (Latin) means 9.

Juichi-Gatsu

(十一月)

11

Shimotsuki 霜月

Month of "Frost."     Shimo霜=Frost.

December

Month of "Ten."   Decem (Latin) means 10.

Juni-Gatsu(十二月)

12

Shiwasu 師走

Month of "Priests' running."

ShiMaster 走=running

 

By the way, every Yayoi-san I know is very nice!  But one of the nicest Yayoi-san I've known well, was not born in March, but in November!   Did you know why? 

 

It should be very interesting but that's enough for today (I 've gotten tired.)   Maybe,in the future,  I will talk about it in the relation of Asian Cultures.

 

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