February is the month of love, winter, and history. It is the shortest month of the year, but there is no shortage of fun and fascinating facts and events. Additionally, it is also a weird month that jumps between 28 and 29 days. In this article, we will delve into the 20 most fantastic but bizarre facts about February.
February was once spelled with a double “u” and it means purification.
One of the first fun facts to know about February is that it is named after the Latin word “februum,” which means purification. This is because ancient Romans held purification rituals during the month.
February was once 23 days.
February could have been the shortest day of the year. The original length of February was 28 days, but it was later shortened to 23 days in order to make the calendar align better with the lunar cycle. Eventually, Julius Caesar added two extra months to the calendar and restored its original 28-day length. Now, February has 29 days every leap year.
The leap year is to align with the astronomical year.
Did you know that the phenomenon that occurs every four years is in fact a corrective measure? The actual number of days in a regular year is 365.2422 days long, and not 365 days. That is why the extra day is added to February, the shortest month, to balance out this discrepancy, and play catch up.
So, each time we “leap”, we are trying to catch up with the Earth’s orbit. Here is a full list of leap years, with the next one coming up in 2024.
You have to beat the odds to be a leaper.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau data, 205,000 people in the U.S. have a February 29 birthday. In translation, that means 0.07% of the population or a probability of 1 in 1,461. If you’re a leaper (leap-year baby), you have beaten the odds. However, that also means you may celebrate your actual birthday four times lesser than most people.
Women can propose to men during leap years.
Though women proposing to men may still be a little uncommon (but not radical), it has become a fun and lighthearted part of February lore in many cultures around the world. In some countries such as Finland and Denmark, it has evolved to allow women to propose on any day of a leap year, not just February 29. So, ladies, you don’t have to wait for a proposal when you can be the one popping the question.
Valentine’s Day comes from the Romans.
Valentine’s Day is a popular day all over the world. In America alone, 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year. However, it is believed that this day originated from the Roman festival of Lupercalia, which celebrated fertility and love.
February is all about the heart (literally).
Although February 14 is all about celebrating love and giving your heart, this month is also National Heart Month in the United States. This time of year is to raise awareness about heart disease and the importance of heart health. So we can say February is indeed a hearty month.
But in February, you can also eat all the snacks you want.
It is bizarre that National Snack Food Month coincides with the month when we celebrate heart health. But, we aren’t complaining because snacks are essentials. If you are planning to binge and indulge in all of your favorite snacks and treats, this may just be a justifiable reason to do so. From chips and dip to popcorn and candy, it’s a month of Netflix and chill.
You can feed the birds too because it is National Bird-Feeding Month.
Looks like not the snacks and goodies are not reserved for us. In the United States, February is National Bird-Feeding Month, a time to help out our feathered friends during the cold winter months. You can set up bird feeders and offer food and shelter to the many species of birds. Just maybe not the crows.
February is also National Cherry Month.
Just as how August is a fruity month, February is National Cherry Month in the United States. It is a time to celebrate the delicious fruit and its many health benefits. Take some time to appreciate the beauty of cherry blossoms, which typically bloom in late winter or early spring.
Mardi Gras is called Fat Tuesday.
No fat shaming here but Mardi Gras is also known as Fat Tuesday. It is a carnival celebration held on the day before Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of the Christian season of Lent before Easter. Many countries around the world celebrate Mardi Gras but is particularly famous in New Orleans, Louisiana.
February’s birthstones are amethyst and onyx.
Amethyst is a purple gemstone that symbolizes peace, stability, and strength. Onyx is a black gemstone that represents protection and grounding. February babies, if you are looking to find a suitable tattoo for yourself, consider inking your birthstones.
February’s flowers aren’t roses.
Interestingly, the birth flowers for February are violets and primrose. Both flowers are all about love, perfect for this Valentine’s month. Violets are a symbol of love, loyalty, and devotion, while primroses symbolize young love, new beginnings, and the coming of spring.
February is called Black History Month.
Black History Month is a salute to African Americans, celebrating their achievements and contributions throughout history. Initially, Black History Month was celebrated during the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
February 13 is Black Friday.
In both Western and Asian cultures, Friday the 13th is actually considered highly unlucky. Though it is unclear what gave February 13th its infamous reputation, some have theorized that this was the day of Jesus’ betrayal. In various cultures, there are various acts to follow to ward off ghosts and “stay clean”.
There are no full moons in February.
Another one of the more fascinating facts about February is that it is the only month that can pass without having a full moon. This is because the lunar cycle is about 29.5 days long, which means that some years February only has 28 days, and in those years, there isn’t enough time for the moon to go through a full cycle.
Though rare, a full moon can occur in February. We call them Snow Moon.
Groundhog Day hinges on superstition.
We celebrate Ground Hog Day on February 2nd in the United States and Canada. And the whole premise of this day is a superstitious one. Apparently, if a groundhog emerges from its burrow and sees its shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather, otherwise, spring will arrive soon. If you spot this ground squirrel, your winter fashion may just have extended.
There are two seasons in February.
One of the more unique facts about February is the contrasting seasons it brings. In the Northern Hemisphere, February is the last full month of winter, while in the Southern Hemisphere, it is the last full month of summer.
Washington’s Birthday is in February.
Wahington’s Birthday is nonother than President’s Day. Every third Monday in February we celebrate this federal occasion to honor the birthday of George Washington. However, it is an important day to commemorate and reflect on all the great things our leaders, like President James Madison, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump have done for America.
February holds many of the biggest events of the year.
We aren’t just referring to Superbowl here. World renown events such as The Oscars and the Winter Olympics are also part of the February schedules. Indeed, even though it is the shortest month, there is no lack of festivities.