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4.17 Time references and historical periods and events

Capitalize the names of months and days, of holidays and holy days, of historical and geological periods and events, and of parliamentary sessions:

  • Wednesday
  • October
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Passover
  • Christmas
  • April Fools’ Day
  • The First Session of
  • the Ice Age
  • the Second World War
  • World War II
  • the Middle Ages
  • the Gulf War
  • the Pleistocene Epoch
  • the Thirty-second Parliament

Do not capitalize the names of the seasons, centuries or decades unless they are personified or are part of special names:

  • spring
  • winter
  • the twentieth century
  • the fifties


  • the Roaring Twenties (name of an era)
  • the Winter Palace

Capitalize the names of events recorded in sacred writings and of historical events with a strong religious dimension:

  • the Flood
  • the Exodus
  • the Immaculate Conception
  • the Crucifixion
  • the Crusades
  • the Reformation
  • the Great Schism
  • the Hegira
  • the Diet of Worms
  • the Second Vatican Council

Terms that refer to events and periods are often capitalized when they refer to specific events or periods and lower-cased when used in a general sense:

  • the Ice Age
  • the First World War
  • the Quiet Revolution
  • the Crusades
  • Stone Age hunting implements
  • the most recent ice age
  • the two world wars
  • She started a revolution.
  • a crusade against poverty
  • He uses stone-age management techniques.

For the use of capitals with time zones, see 1.22 Time zones.