How Eight Became Ten

By Laura L.W. Horan

The month of October has its own story. It used to be the 8th month, in the early Roman, Hebrew, Greek, Canaanite, and Babylonian calendars. “Octo” in Latin means 8. In those times, only 10 months were used starting with March and ending with December. However, the 8th month was originally called “Bul.” I Kings 6:38 “And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month…” (KJV). Bul, was a combination of October and November as one month. This was the time for olive harvest and grain planting, as well as the rainy season. The Great Flood occurred during one of those rainy seasons.

King Numa Pompilius of Rome added January and February, which bumped October to the 10th month. The name October stayed the same, even though it no longer was the 8th month. When Julius Caesar came into power, he wanted to have the seasons more aligned with the moon, and so he added Leap Year although it still wasn’t accurate. He and others of his day used the moon and the sun to record or chart time, so they knew when to plant, harvest, and plan their festivals. They didn’t know it, but they were following the plan of God. Psalms 101:9 He appointed the moon for seasons…” (KJV).

Pope Gregory XIII, in the year 1582, took Julius’s changes and refined them. The Julian record-keeping was off by 10 days. In Gregory the XIII’s modifications, he wanted to change the date of Easter, to keep it in the spring equinox. However, there was much controversy and opposition over the new calendar. Because of these oppositions, it has taken the international world hundreds of years to adopt the new system. In fact, just sixty-six years ago in 1949, China finally accepted the Gregorian way. Today, most of the world follows the Gregorian calendar.

    October, meaning eight, is the new ten.