Monday, 22 February 2016

February - the month of pearls

We've reached February in my monthly "what's in a name" series.

February in Finnish is helmikuu, literally 'pearl moth'. But why? What does February have to do with pearls?

It's another month name that has its origins in a natural phenomenon or something related to the weather. In February, you can sometimes see tiny ice pearls decorating tree branches. This happens when the weather turns first warmer and the snow melts, then it gets colder again and the water dripping down from the branches freezes.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to witness this phenomenon recently or take a picture of it. Right now, trees are covered in snow. Hence the clumsy imitation of the real thing. :D


  1. Hi there,
    I think I've never remembered to comment on your month names posts, but I find them fascinating. Languages are so diverse and interesting, so I've really been enjoying your analyses of the Finnish month names. I really love the origin of Helmikuu - that must be a beautiful sight. And your improvised photo of the phenomenon is very pretty!
    All the best,

    1. Hi Kathy,

      thank you, I'm glad you've liked these posts. :) I find the Finnish month names interesting because they're different from the month names in the other languages that I know and because their origins are connected to nature. Some of the names are kind of self-evident but there are a few I've had to research a bit, and yes all right, I'm afraid that's the kind of thing I enjoy doing. It's official, I'm a word nerd. :D

  2. Helmikuun ihmeitä!
    Ihanaa, että saat meidät ajattelemaan näitä nimiä syvällisemmin!

    1. Kiitos! :) Nämä(kin) nimet ovat mielenkiintoisia, ja vaikka joidenkin alkuperä on aika selkeä, toisten taustalta saattaakin paljastua jotain yllättävää.