"Oktoberfest," despite appearances, is not a month-long celebration of beer in October -- it's actually a 16-day yearly festival held in Munich (Germany) since 1810 that begins at the end of September and ends on Oct. 3, which is German Unity Day (similar to our Fourth of July). It is the largest fair in the world with about 6 million people (!) attending to drink vast, vast quantities of delicious beer or "bier."
In the United States, October is accordingly German-American Heritage Month, and also a time when lots of new hoppy, malty and bitter-y beers are introduced, in preparation for the long, dark days of winter when everyone is in desperate need of a beverage that is both strong in flavor and alcohol content to make us forget about the icy gloom.
But since October is still a month of beer festivities in the U.S., let's review how to abbreivate every month of the year correctly using beer-related examples. Note that the month should only be abbreviated when a date or date and year is specified as well. Months with only the year marked (and no date) should not be abbreviated.
The general rule of thumb is that if the month is less than five characters long, no abbreviation is necessary. The following months are never abbreviated under any circumstances:
- Oct. 1 kicks off beer month.
- October 2012 will be a month to remember (or maybe not remember).
- On Oct. 3, 2012, I will eat lots of schweinebraten with sauerkraut.