Is it me, or is February a funny old month?
Other months have their own identities, events, purposes. January for example. A month of both renewal (new year, new goals) and pain (long, often broke, often dry). Or September? Traditional start of the sports season, return of the kids to schools, the month when everyone tends to sit in beer gardens late because they know that it’s going to get cold/dark soon.
If anyone is interested, here’s what Wikipedia has to say about February:
February is the second month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. It is the shortest month and the only month with fewer than 30 days. The month has 28 days in common years and 29 days in leap years.
In the Southern Hemisphere, February is the seasonal equivalent of August in the Northern Hemisphere.
February starts 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 October every year and January in common years only. In leap years, it is the only month that ends on the same weekday it begins.
February was named after the Latin term februum, which means purification, via the purification ritual Februa held on February 15 (full moon) in the old lunar Roman calendar. January and February were the last two months to be added to the Roman calendar, since the Romans originally considered winter a monthless period. They were added by Numa Pompilius about 713 BC. February remained the last month of the calendar year until the time of the decemvirs (c. 450 BC), when it became the second month. At certain intervals February was truncated to 23 or 24 days; and a 27-day intercalary month, Intercalaris, was inserted immediately after February to realign the year with the seasons.
Under the reforms that instituted the Julian calendar, Intercalaris was abolished, leap years occurred regularly every fourth year, and in leap years February gained a 29th day. Thereafter, it remained the second month of the calendar year, meaning the order that months are displayed (January, February, March, …, December) within a year-at-a-glance calendar. Even during the Middle Ages, when the numbered Anno Domini year began on March 25 or December 25, the second month was February whenever all twelve months were displayed in order. The Gregorian calendar reforms made slight changes to the system for determining which years were leap years and thus contained a 29-day February.
Historical names for February include the Old English terms Solmonath (mud month) and Kale-monath (named for cabbage) as well as Charlemagne’s designation Hornung. In Finnish, the month is called helmikuu, meaning “month of the pearl”; when snow melts on tree branches, it forms droplets, and as these freeze again, they are like pearls of ice. In Polish and Ukrainian, respectively, the month is called luty or лютий, meaning the month of ice or hard frost.
- Black History Month (Canada and United States)
- LGBT History Month (United Kingdom)
- National Bird-Feeding Month
- Parent Leadership Month
- Abolition of Slavery in Mauritius:February 1
- St Brigid’s Day: February 1, Ireland
- Groundhog Day: February 2, United States and Canada
- Imbolc: February 2
- Independence of Sri Lanka: February 4
- 1917 Constitution of Mexico: February 5
- Waitangi Day in New Zealand: February 6
- Slovenian Cultural Holiday: February 8
- National Foundation Day in Japan: February 11
- Abraham Lincoln’s birthday: February 12, United States
- Valentine’s Day: February 14
- Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre: An infamous mafia attack. February 14
- Flag Day of Canada: February 15
- Kosovo’s Independence Day: February 17
- Presidents Day (United States, third Monday)
- International Mother Language Day: February 21
- Independence Day in Saint Lucia: February 22
- George Washington’s birthday: February 22, United States (often coincides with President’s Day, see above)
- Flag Day of Mexico: February 24
- Independence Day in Estonia: February 24
- People Power Revolution (Philippines) February 25
- Liberation Day (Kuwait) February 26
- Dominican Republic Independence: February 27
- Leap Day: February 29 (Every four years, with some exceptions)
- National Day of the Sun (in Argentina)
- National Wear Red Day (in the US and the UK)
I’ve just had a thought. I forgot one very, very important thing that happens in February. The highlight of my year. The one time on an annual basis that I can feel national pride without some idiot claiming it for the right wing.
That’s right ladies & gents, I actually forgot about the Six Nations!
I’ll cover that another time, but for now, check out the countdown on the bottom of this page to the most important event of the year. My beloved Calcutta Cup.