An October history lesson

Career & Education

An October history lesson

Sunday, October 06, 2019

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October is here, and in the northern hemisphere, that often means the days are flush with falling leaves, chilling weather, and growing anticipation for the holiday season.

The tenth month by our Gregorian calendar, October, shares a root with octopus and octagon—the Latin “octo” and Greek “okto” both mean “eight.”


The original Roman calendar had only 10 months, of which October was the eighth. But even after Julius Caesar expanded the calendar year from 10 months to 12 by adding January and February, October's numerical name stuck, like those of its neighbouring months — September, November, and December. October entered Old English via Old French, replacing the English vernacular term Winterfylleğ (“Winter full moon”).

What happens in October?

Children may look forward to October for Halloween, which falls at the month's close, but beer lovers may be more excited for what's happening at the beginning of the month — Oktoberfest. This long-standing beer festival has gained popularity around the world, but the true Oktoberfest is located in Munich, Germany, where the festival has been held since 1810.

The celebration marks the beginning of a new beer-brewing season, as cooler temperatures bring optimal beer-brewing months. It has long been a tradition to polish off the remaining beer from the year to prepare the casks for a new brew in autumn.

Munich's Oktoberfest now begins in late September, and although the seasonal climate is less relevant to breweries today, the beer festival of Oktoberfest remains a vibrant tradition.


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