Thursday, March 8, 2012

the Finnish calendar

Well, whoever had the possibility to take a closer look at a Finnish calendar has already figures out that Finns decided to name their months completely different from all the other countries in Europe. If you haven’t learned them at some point you’ll be lost. Their names seem quite random at the first glace. But actually they are not. This might help you:

The months       kuukauden       
kuu = moon; So it has the same origin as the English word

January:              tammikuu         
tammi = oak; Here referring to the tree trunk meaning the center or middle. It describes the January as the middle, the solid heart and center of the winter.

February:            helmikuu            
helmi = pearl; Have you seen Finland in February with all its white snow and shining ice? Then you won’t have any problems understanding the origin of this name.

March:                 maaliskuu
maa = land, soil; The snow slowly starts melting, releasing the soil that has been hidden throughout the long Finnish winter.

April:                     huhtikuu
huhti = kaski = new Field; April is described as the month when to prepare the fields.

May:                     toukokuu
touko = peltotyöt = work on the field; It’s time to do the important work on the field.

June:                    kesäkuu
 kesä = Summer; Well, that is self explaining.

July:                      heinäkuu
heinä = grass, hay; What better word would there be to describe July?

August:                               elokuu
elo = viljasato = harvest; Time to collect the fruits for the hard work in the spring.

September:       syyskuu
syys = syksy = fall/autumn; No explanation needed I guess.

October:             lokakuu
loka = kura ja lika = mud and dirt; Take out the rubber boots.

November:        marraskuu
marras = kuollut = dead; The trees have lost their leaves, the nights get longer and longer and if it’s not pitch black then the sky is gray. 

December:         joulukuu
joulu = Christmas; Sleigh bells ring and Santa Claus is coming to town.


  1. This is great! Kiitos.
    My mother also used to talk about a thirteenth month that she called mätäkuu, the rotting month, that period that starts sometime in June when temperatures soar, food spoils quickly if left out of the fridge, and wounds will not heal easily, a time of decay amidst rapid, verdant growth.
    That's mätäkuu, with dots on the a's and not a line, as that would be rude she said, adding that "you won't find this word in the dictionary because it's not real Finnish."

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