October is the tenth month but it's latin root is the number eight, octo. Why is that?
From the Almanac:
Although the early Roman Republican Calendar acknowledged twelve solar months, Winter was considered a "dead" period and two months were not named. March (named for the god of war, Mars) was the first month. This early calendar was instituted by the King of Rome Romulus and a year had 304 days. This Calendar existed until about 738 b.c.. Julius Caesar codified the Calendar when he became Emperor and it was then known as a Julian Calendar. This existed until about 1582 when the Gregorian Calendar was adopted by Pope Gregory XIII and some inaccuracies were corrected.
A little more info here. Why did one October only have twenty one days?
In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian calendar, an upgrade from the Julian calendar that had fallen 10 days out of sync and was thus messing with the timing of religious holidays. Switching to the new calendar fixed the issue, but it required a one-time drop of 10 days to get back on track. The pope decreed the calendar would skip them in October, the month with the fewest holy days. After October 4, the calendar jumped to October 15, omitting the days in between and causing a flurry of issues: Some citizens in Frankfurt rioted against the change, many countries delayed or refused to swap to the new calendar, and participating regions had to recalculate rents and wages for the shortened month. Over the next few centuries, most countries around the globe adopted the Gregorian calendar, though some held out longer than others. Greece became the last European country to officially adopt the calendar, in 1923.
Odd October fact:
Some people traditionally lay gravel during the light of the Moon, when it is waxing or increasing in light. This is between the new and full phases. So in October, a good time to lay gravel according to this criteria would be Oct 1-8 and 23-31.
I remember a very nice girl in my kindergarten and first grade class at Lemon Avenue Elementary School in La Mesa named October. Wonder what her parents were thinking? Although I have known some Aprils, Mays, Junes and Augusts, why not?