hreð-mōnaþ, m.n: another word for the month of March, possibly related to goddess Hrēþ/Rheda. (“hreth-mon-ath”)

Further information from Kazutomo Karasawa’s The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium) (Cambridge, 2015)

According to Bede’s De temporum ratione, “Hredmonath is named after their (i.e., pre-Christian Anglo-Saxons’) goddess Hreda, to whom they used to offer a sacrifice during the month” (Karasawa, p. 92).


Hlȳda, m.n: the month noisy with wind and storm, March. (“hluh-da”) Ðæs mōnþes ðe wē hātaþ Martius ðone gē hātaþ Hlȳda.

Further information from Kazutomo Karasawa’s The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium) (Cambridge, 2015)

                   …ϸænne he furðor cymeð

ufor anre niht   us to tune,

hrime gehyrsted   hagolscurum færð

geond middangeard   Martius reðe,

Hlyda healic.

—The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium), lines 33b-37a

…then it comes forth among us to town one night later, decorated with hoar-frost and hail-showers, March the fierce, Hlyda the great, comes over the middle-earth. (trans. by K. Karasawa)

Karasawa says that the etymology “is perhaps related to hlud ‘loud'” (p. 92), but there seems to be a lot of speculation about the name’s origin. According to Byrhtferth’s Enchiridion, March is the greatest (swyðost) of months. Karasawa gives reasons for the importance of March (p. 92):

  • The vernal equinox (the 21st) occurs in March, and this date was key for reckoning the date of Easter.
  • March was said to be the month in which God created the world (and a few lines later the poet does refer to the creation of the sun and the moon).
  • Annunciation Day is in March (the 25th).
  • According to Byrhtferth’s Enchiridion, March is when the angels had been created, Christ had suffered but had arisen from death, and God’s spirit had come to mankind.


hwīt, adj: white, bright, clear, fair. (“hweet”)

[Modern English white, Old Frisian and Old Saxon hwīt, Old High German hwīz, Old Icelandic hvīt-r, Gothic lveit-s, Low German and Dutch witt]


From the British Library medieval manuscripts blog: God creating the Heavens and the Earth, from Guyart de Moulins, “Bible historiale completee”, Genesis to Psalms, France (Clairfontaine and Paris), 1411, Royal MS 19 D III, vol. 1, f. 3r.