Months of the Year

The Republic of Turkey (Türkiye Cumhuriyeti) keeps official time according to the Gregorian calendar, which it adopted in 1926. However, as a majority-Muslim country, Turkey’s people also naturally use the Islamic or Hijri calendar for religious purposes. In fact, Turkey has a bit of a hybridization of public holidays, celebrating six national holidays that are affixed to the Gregorian solar calendar but also observing the important Islamic festivals that take place at the conclusion of Ramadan and during the time of the annual Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca), which are dated according to the Hijri lunar calendar and whose dates thus fluctuate with respect to the Gregorian calendar.

While the Turks use the same Gregorian calendar used in the West, the names of the months are unique and reflect the variety of external influences on Turkish over the centuries. Several of the names are Turkish in origin (noted by a T below). Several others are taken from Levantine Arabic, which itself took them probably from Aramaic (these are marked with an A). The remainder ultimately derive from Latin, seemingly via French (marked with F) except for one case that does seem directly taken from Latin (marked with an L). Here are the month names with their English equivalents:

  • January = Ocak (T)
  • February = Şubat (A)
  • March = Mart (F)
  • April = Nisan (A)
  • May = Mayıs (F)
  • June = Haziran (A)
  • July = Temmuz (A)
  • August = Ağustos (L)
  • September = Eylül (A)
  • October = Ekim (T)
  • November = Kasım (T)
  • December = Aralık (T)

I’ve tried to describe the Hijri calendar over on my Arabic blog, so I won’t repeat that discussion here, but worth noting here is the way the Hijri month names are spelled in Modern Turkish with its modified Latin alphabet (compare these to my transliterations on the Arabic blog):

  • Muharrem
  • Sefer
  • Rabiyülevvel
  • Rabiyülahir
  • Cemaziyülevvel
  • Cemaziyülahir
  • Recep
  • Şaban
  • Ramazan
  • Şevval
  • Zilkaade
  • Zilhicce

One thought on “Months of the Year

  1. Pingback: Mevlid-i Şerif | Turkish Word a Day

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