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Uncle Goose Ocean Blocks

October and Octopus: what's the connection?

You probably know an octopus has eight legs. It’s what puts the “octo” in octopus. That’s because “octo” is a Latin word that means eight.

So why is October called October? It’s the tenth month. What does October have to do with the number eight?

It’s because the ancient Roman calendar had only 10 months. This calendar year didn’t begin in January: it began in spring with the month of March. In that calendar, October was the eighth month.

In 45 BC, Julius Caesar introduced his own calendar. This Julian calendar added two extra months to the beginning of the old Roman calendar.

But in 1582 AD, Pope Gregory XIII made further changes to the Julian calendar. Today, most people in the world use this Gregorian calendar.

Over time, calendars have changed: but the names of the last four months of the current calendar each clung to their Latin roots. Each one is named after the old Roman calendar.

  • Septem means seven in Latin.
  • Octo means eight.
  • Novem means nine.
  • Decem means ten.

Spark a conversation. Do you think we should keep calling months after their old Latin names? Or should we change the names of the months to something more modern?

Ask insightful questions. If you want to change the names of the months, what would you call them? And how would you get all the people of the world to agree to call them something different?

Changing the way the whole world does something can be difficult. If you want to change the world, you might want to start with your closest friends and family members. See if you can persuade them to agree with you on all of your best ideas. It may be more challenging than you think!