Arabic months

Ahlan! Welcome to another article of our series of Arabic language basics! After posting the days of the week in Arabic, along with a short explanation (link here), it’s time we discuss about the months in Arabic. Remember when we said that the Arab world is rich and diverse? This means that even the months might differ from one region to another, depending on what calendar they followed.

The West is majorly based either on the Gregorian or Julian calendar (there isn’t a huge difference between the 2, except for the “leap years”, but the months remain the same mostly). Some Arab countries adopted these calendars and adapted them according to the language, dialect and influences (such as Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia etc). However, some other regions use the months names derived from the Aramaic calendar, much like the Levant area of Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan. Saudi Arabia has the Islamic calendar as their official one, used simultaneously with the Gregorian calendar. This is a lunar calendar is used for religious purposes in order to determine the annual period of fasting (Ramadan) and the proper time for the pilgrimage to Mecca. This calendar usually starts when Prophet Muhammad and his followers migrated from Mecca to Medina. Every year this calendar changes, as it depends on the lunar cycles. In this article we will focus on the Arabic calendar of the Levant area and the countries that use the Gregorian calendar, even though the latter is quite intuitive and the months are pronounced almost the same as in the West. So let’s start! The one illustrated below is the Aramaic calendar used in the Levant.

January in Arabic – Kanun al thane – كانون الثاني
February in Arabic – Shubat – شباط
March in Arabic – Athar – آذار
April in Arabic – Nesan – نيسان
May in Arabic – Ayyar – آيار
June in Arabic – Huzairan – حزيران
July in Arabic – Tamuz – تموز
August in Arabic – Āb – آب
September in Arabic – Aylul – أيلول
October in Arabic – Tishreen al awwal – تشرين الأول
November in Arabic – Tishreen al thani – تشرين الثاني
December in Arabic – Kanun al awwal – كانون الأول

And as for the calendar used in Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and other Gulf countries, you will see how similar they are as per below:

January in Arabic – Yanayer – يناير
February in Arabic – Febraier – فبراير
March in Arabic – Mars – مارس
April in Arabic – Abreal – أبريل
May in Arabic – Mayo – مايو
June in Arabic – Yonyo – يونيو
July in Arabic – Yolyo – يوليو
August in Arabic – Augustus – أغسطس
September in Arabic – Sebtember – سبتمبر
October in Arabic – Oktobar – أكتوبر
November in Arabic – Novembar – نوفمبر
December in Arabic – Desembar – ديسمبر

We agree that this last one might be easier to remember due to the similarities, but don’t forget that the Levant area is quite important in the Arab area and should be considered.As we mentioned before, because the Arab world is so diverse, even the months can be different across the region. This was greatly influence by the need to be congruent with the West, by colonization, by the historical events or by religion.

We are more than glad to support any student who wishes to learn more about the origin of each calendar and how it reached to be used as it is in the present day, so please do not hesitate to contact us.