In many European languages the names of the months are based on the Roman calendar and are easy to recognize for foreign language speakers for this reason. However, the Croatian names of the months originate from archaic Slavic words and phrases which depict the changing of the seasons and the different tasks related to those seasons:
This month was probably named after the timber-cutting season which begins at that time of year, although other theories of its origin exist too.
Other (archaic) names for siječanj: malobožićnjak, pavlovšćak.
According to some sources, the name is probably derived from the word ‘velja, velji’, (which means longer) to describe the time of year when the days get longer.
Other (archaic) names for veljača: svečen, veljak, svičan and others.
The weather in March tends to be unpredictable. Hence, its name has been derived from the noun ‘laž’ (a lie)- o(la)žujak (a lying month).
Other (archaic) names for ožujak: gregurjevščak, sušec, protuletnjak.
The origin of its name is easily discerned because the name comes from the noun ‘trava’ (grass). This truly is one the greenest months of the year.
Other (archaic) names for travanj: jurjevščak , traven, mali traven.
‘Sviba’ or ‘svib’ is a plant which blooms in late spring and it boasts beautiful white flowers.
Other (archaic) names for svibanj: filipovčak, rožnjak, sviben.
Lipanj got its name from the linden tree which blossoms at this time of year.
Other (archaic) names for lipanj: ivanščak, klasen, rožencvet.
Its name tells us that this is the time of year when people use ‘srpove’ (sickles) for harvest.
Other (archaic) names for srpanj: jakopovščak, srpen, mali srpen.
Like many other months, ‘kolovoz’ was named to mark the agricultural work that was done at that time of year. While ‘srpanj’ was named after sickles, the name ‘kolovoz’ is a combination of two words- kola (cart) and voziti (drive)- because harvest was transported by carts to the storehouses.
Other (archaic) names for ‘kolovoz’: velikomešnjak, kolovožnjak, osemnik.
This month got its name to mark the animal-mating season which starts at this time of year. The verb ‘rjati’ is used to describe the mating calls of the animals which start their love games in September.
Other (archaic) names for rujan: malomešnjak, rujen, jesenščak.
This is the month when most trees lose their leaves. The word ‘listopad’ is actually a combination of the two nouns which describe this process: List (leaf) + padati (fall).
Other (archaic) names for listopad: Miholjščak, kožaprst, desetnik.
At this time of year temperatures can drop below zero in some parts of Croatia. Studen = cold and that is how ‘studeni’ got its name.
Other (archaic) names for listopad: vsesvetčak , veternjak, zmiščak.
There are two theories about the origin of this name. One says that the name prosinac comes from the word ‘prositi’ (to beg). The other one says that the name is derived from the word ‘prosinuti’ (to shine) because the sun suddenly shines through during the winter solstice.
Other (archaic) names for prosinac: velikobožičnjak, gruden, dvanajstnik.
* The names of the months are not capitalized in Croatian
** Croatians often refer to the months of the year by ordinal numbers- prvi mjesec (first month = January), drugi mjesec (second month = February) etc.