February

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February (Feb.) is the 2nd month of the year, coming between January and March, with 28 days in common years, and 29 days in leap years. In Sweden in 1732 the month had 30 days. This was to make the calendar match the rest of the world. In 1930 and 1931, February had 30 days in the Soviet Union because the government changed all the months to be 30 days long. The name comes either from the Roman god Februus or else from "februa", the festivals of purification celebrated in Rome every fifteenth of this month.

February begins on the same day of the week as March and November in common years, and August in leap years. February always ends on the same day of the week as October, and additionally, January in common years.

The Month[change | change source]

Chocolates for Valentine's Day, February 14.

February is one of the last two months to be added to the calendar at the beginning of the year (the other is January). This is because in the original Roman calendar, the two months of winter, when not much would happen in agriculture, did not have names.

February is the second month of the year, coming between January and March, and is also the shortest month, with 28 days in a common year, and 29 days in a leap year. February begins on the same day of the week as March and November in common years and on the same day of the week as August in leap years. February ends on the same day of the week as January in common years and October every year. In a leap year, February is the only month to begin and end on the same day of the week.

Every year, February starts on the same day of the week as June of the previous year. In common years, February finishes on the same day of the week as May of the previous year, and in leap years, August and November of the previous year.

In common years immediately before other common years, February starts on the same day of the week as August of the following year, and in leap years and years immediately before that, May of the following year. In years immediately before common years, February finishes on the same day of the week as July of the following year, and in years immediately before leap years, April and December of the following year.

February is also the only month of the calendar that, once every six years and twice every 11 years consecutively, either back into the past or forward into the future, will have four full 7-day weeks. In countries that start their week on a Monday, it occurs as part of a common year starting on Friday, in which February 1st is a Monday and the 28th is a Sunday, this was observed in 2010 and can be traced back 11 years to 1999, 6 years back to 1993, 11 years back to 1982, 11 years back to 1971 and 6 years back to 1965, and will be observed in 2021. In countries that start their week on a Sunday, it occurs in a common year starting on Thursday, with the next occurrence in 2026, and previous occurrences in 2015 (11 years earlier than 2026), 2009 (6 years earlier than 2015), 1998 (11 years earlier than 2009) and 1987 (11 years earlier than 1998). This works unless the pattern is broken by a skipped leap year, but no leap year has been skipped since 1900 and no others will be skipped until 2100.

From circa 700 BC, when Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, added it to the calendar, February had 23 days and 24 days on some of every second year, until 46 BC when Julius Caesar assigned it 29 days on every fourth year and 28 days otherwise. Leap year Day, February 29, is added in every year that can be divided equally by four, such as 2012 and 2016, but this does not apply when the year ending in "00" at the turn of the century does not divide equally into 400. This means that 1600 and 2000 were leap years in the Gregorian calendar, but 1700, 1800, and 1900 were rather common years. This is where the Julian calendar calculated dates differently, as it always repeated February 29 every four years.

February is a winter month in the Northern Hemisphere and a summer month in the Southern Hemisphere. In each hemisphere, it is the seasonal equivalent of August in the other. In weather lore, Groundhog Day, in the United States, is set to decide what the weather will be like for the rest of the winter.

February's flower is the violet and its birthstone is the amethyst. The meaning of the amethyst is sincerity. The zodiac signs for February are Aquarius (January 21 to February 19), and Pisces (February 20 to March 20).

Events in February[change | change source]

Fixed Events[change | change source]

Groundhog Day celebration on February 2.
A Valentine's Day card for February 14 in the early 1900s.
February 29 shown in a Swedish pocket calendar.

Moveable and month-long Events[change | change source]

Selection of Historical Events[change | change source]

Flooding in the Netherlands on February 1, 1953.
James Cook is killed in Hawaii on February 14, 1779.
The trail left by the meteorite over Chelyabinsk on February 15, 2013.

Trivia[change | change source]

The Violet.
Months of the Year

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December