Months of the Year in Spanish

Names of months are masculine, not capitalized

Calendar
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Words for the months are very similar in English and Spanish thanks to their common heritage:

  • enero — January
  • febrero — February
  • marzo — March
  • abril — April
  • mayo — May
  • junio — June
  • julio — July
  • agosto — August
  • septiembre, setiembre — September
  • octubre — October
  • noviembre — November
  • diciembre — December

Grammar of the Months in Spanish

All of the names for months are masculine: el enero, el febrero, etc. It usually isn't necessary to use the el except when giving specific dates, and then the el comes before the number rather than the month.

Note that unlike in English, the names of the months are not capitalized in Spanish (except at the beginning of a sentence or composition title).

Three months have adjective forms: abrileño (pertaining to April), marzal (pertaining to March), and agosteño (pertaining to August). Example: Las lluvias abrileñas de nuestro país son persistentes. (The April rains in our country are persistent.)

  • The names of the months of year in English and Spanish are similar because they come from the age of the Roman Empire.
  • Names of the months in Spanish are masculine and not normally capitalized.
  • The most common pattern for writing dates in Spanish is "number + de + month + de + year."

How To Write Dates in Spanish

The most common way of giving dates is following this pattern: el 1 de enero de 2000. For example: La Declaración de Independencia de los EE.UU. fue ratificada por el Congreso Continental el 4 de julio de 1776 en Filadelfia. (The U.S. Declaration of Independence was ratified by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia.) As in that example, the word "on" in an "on + date" phrase does not have to be translated to Spanish.

Otherwise, the names of months are used similarly to the structure in English:

  • Abril es el cuarto mes del año. (April is the fourth month of the year.)
  • Asturias registró el febrero más seco y cálido desde 1990. (Asturias recorded the driest, warmest February since 1990.)
  • Un año bisiesto es uno con 366 días en vez de 365. Cada cuatro años, febrero tiene un día más. (A leap year is one with 366 days instead of 356. Every four years, February has an extra day.)
  • Fue publicado el 28 de febrero de 2008. (It was published on February 28, 2008.)
  • Era un diciembre mágico. (It was a magic December.)
  • Se celebra el 24 de octubre como Día de las Naciones Unidas. (October 24 is celebrated as United Nations Day.)
  • Según las creencias de la astrología, las personas que nacieron el 20 de octubre son en cierto modo una paradoja. (According to astrological beliefs, people born on Oct. 20 are paradoxical in some way.)
  • El 25 de octubre es el 298o día del año en el calendario gregoriano. (October 25 is the 298th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar.)
  • Cada febrero, una marmota llamada Phil sale de su cueva. (Each February, a groundhog named Phil comes out of his burrow.)
  • El 6 de enero es un día importante para la niñez mexicana, porque es el día que llegan los Reyes Magos a dejar regalos. (January 6 is an important date for Mexican children, because it is the day that the Wise Men arrive to leave gifts.)

Abbreviating Dates

When writing dates using just numbers, Spanish typically uses Roman numerals using a date-month-year sequence. For example, September 16, 1810 (Mexico's independence date), would be written as 16-IX-1810. Note that the sequence is similar to that used in English in Great Britain (as well as in most other European languages) but not the United States.

Origins of the Months' Names

The names of the months all come from Latin, the language of the Roman Empire:

  • enero — from the Roman god Janus, the guardian or doors and gates.
  • febrero — from a word meaning "purify." A feast of purification was once held at this time of year.
  • marzo — from Martius, the word for the planet Mars.
  • abril — meaning uncertain. It may be a variation of the name of the Greek god Aphrodite.
  • mayo — possibly from Maia, a Roman earth goddess.
  • junio — possibly from Junio, a goddess married to Jupiter.
  • julio — in honor of Julius Caesar.
  • agosto — in honor of August Ceasar.
  • septiembre — from a Latin word for "seven." September was the seventh month of the old Roman calendar.
  • octubre — from a Latin word for "eight."
  • noviembre — from a Latin word for "nine."
  • diciembre — from a Latin word for "ten."