October: nights getting darker, the wind getting an added bite. For me, October is about making it through to half-term break, then celebrating with parties near the end -- not too bad, all in all. And, I can say from personal experience, that October is a rather nice month to be born in.
The name of October is taken from the Latin octo meaning "eight," having once been the eighth month of the Roman calendar. Originally the year began with March, but later January and February were added, shifting October to the tenth month. From the same route as October we also get the names Octavius, Octavian, Octavio, Ottavio, Octavia and Ottavia.
Hedra, the Cornish name for October, has had some usage as a feminine name in Britain. October itself has had some, though very rare, usage as a first name.
The Anglo-Saxons called October Winterfylleþ -- literally made up of the elements "winter" and "full moon". Originally the years was split in two: Summer and Winter, and the beginning of winter was marked by the first full moon in October.
Both Winter and Wynter have been used for the last 300 years as both surnames and unisex first names. With Summer and Autumn both in the Top 200 most popular girls' names, it isn't surprising that Winter is slowly gaining more usage as well.
For thousands of years, and in many different cultures, October was a time of the grape harvest. Such was the way for the ancient Greeks, with their warm climate, but other European countries who did not grow grapes themselves also considered it so. An Old English name for October was Win-mónaþ "wine month," also reflected in the Germanic Weinmond. The medieval wine trade was big business, but it was very much seasonal. The wine vintage usually took place in early October, and within a few weeks new wines were being widely exported. Annual wine fairs took place in all of the major wine producing regions throughout October.
Wine-inspired names are not very obvious, but we don't have to go too far to find one. Margaux was coined as a variation of Margot, but was also the name of (and most likely inspired by) a French town which is known for its wine. The same can be said for Burgundy and Lorraine which have both been used as firstnames. Bordeaux, Graves, Madiran, Maury, Santenay and Touraine are other wine-producing areas in France that offer possibilities. Italy has Asti, Chianti, Elba, Monti and Ovada; Portugal has Madeira and Tavira; Spain has Alella, Alicante, Jumilla and Navarra.
In Ancient Greek myth, Oenone was a nymph whose name derived from the Greek oinos "wine." The Latin vinum "wine" is thought to be the source of Vinicius and Vinicio, while the Welsh Heilyn means "winebearer."
As for the grape itself, the Spanish, Italian and Portuguese know it as Uva, while the Danish and Norwegian call it Drue.
The Opal is the birthstone for October. The name derives from the Greek opallios, but is thought to ultimately stem from the Sanskrit upala meaning "precious stone." Opals were a favourite stone of Queen Victoria, which partly explains Opals usage as a name in the 19th century, alongside favourites Ruby and Beryl. Opalina is an old variant of Apollonia, but is very close to Opaline "opal-like."
October's birth flower is Calendula, derived from calendae "the Calends": the first day of the month. It is thought to have earned this name because it flourished so well, and is seemingly in bloom each month. It is more commonly known as Marigold (or Marygold in early sources), which has had usage as a name since the 16th century. The name was at a peak in Britian in the 1920s, 30s and 40s.
Libra "the scales" is the astrological sign that runs from September 24 to October 23. According to Greek mythology they were the scales of Astraea (Virgo), the goddess of justice. In other versions they belonged to Tyche, also identified as Virgo. Libra was used occasionally as a given name in Scotland in the 17th century, and in England in the 19th century.
Many different countries have names associated with days of the year; most often they are the feast days of saints. Below are some of the names associated with the days in October around the world.
1 = Benigna, Ragnar, Rainer, Remigius, Theresa
2 = Leodegar / Léger, Oliver, Petra
3 = Ewald / Evald, Gerard, Romana, Udo
4 = Aurea, Edwin, Francis, Frank
5 = Donata, Galla, Inga, Ingrid, Raymond
6 = Bruno, Jenny, Natalia, Roman
7 = Amalia, Birgitta, Denise, Justina, Mark
8 = Benedicta, Bridget / Brigitta, Pelagia, Thais
9 = Dionysus, John, Leif, Marina, Sara
10 = Alexis, Cassius, Gereon, Victor
11 = Aldur, Andronicus, Kenneth, Zinaida
12 = Felix, Maximilian, Seraphin, Wilfrid
13 = Edward, Fincana, Findoca, Gerald, Theophilus
14 = Burchard, Calixto, Colm, Dominic
15 = Aurelia, Hedwig, Theresa, Wulfram
16 = Finn, Gerard, Hedwig, Michael
17 = Ignatius, Solina / Solène, Vesta
18 = Brioc, Luke, Lucas, Julian, Justus, Zlata
19 = Cleopatra, Frieda, Laura, Peter
20 = Adelina, Casper / Jasper, Irene, Vendelin
21 = Avia, Celina, Fintan, Florina, Ursula, Valeria
22 = Cordula, Sabina, Salome, Severus
23 = Ignatius, Severin, Soren, Teodor
24 = Felix, Martin, Raphael, Solomon
25 = Chrysanthus, Crispin, Daria, Isidore
26 = Afra, Amanda, Demitri, Lucian
27 = Abban, Ivo, Nestor, Sabina, Vincent
28 = Jude, Nina, Simon, Tadeo
29 = Alfred, Kennera, Laudoveve, Narcissus
30 = Alphonsus, Swithun, Zenobia
31 = Bega, Quentin, Wolfgang