Why is February the shortest month of the year? And what’s Valentine’s Day all about? Come find out in our fun facts about February!
Ahhhhh February. What a weird month. Just 28 days long (but sometimes 29 every four years, which is so random when you think about it), February is the most intriguing month on the calendar.
February often gets us in a bit of a tizz too. Famous for Valentine’s Day, partners are often scrambling around trying to find an ‘I Love You’ teddy bear or box of chocolates.
And if you forget to buy a present for your partner because you don’t believe in the manufactured commercial nature of Valentine’s Day? Well, then you’re a very brave soul indeed!
As you’ll learn in our fun facts about February, the month has gone through a series of transitions over the millennia. Keep on reading to find out why!
In Ancient Rome, it was the last month of the calendar year. Then they changed that and it became the second month.
At some point it was shortened to 23 or 24 days. Then, it was stretched to 27 days occasionally to realign the year with the seasons.
Presently, it has 28 days, but that becomes 29 days every four years in a leap year. As we said, this isn’t your standard month! Just imagine if they changed it all again and just said “sod it, let’s make it 30 days and have done with it…”
In this article there are a number of February facts that will really surprise you, so make sure you keep on reading. From extraordinary celebrations to weird events, this is what’s special about February!
Also, you can learn all about the fun facts of March here. This really is one of the most fascinating months of the year so check it out why now!
17 Fun Facts About February
1. Where did the word “February” come from?
February comes from “februa,” a Latin word meaning “to cleanse,” and was named after a month-long purification festival held this time of the year.
Amusingly, in 2000, the Institute of Business Technology named the second Monday in February as National Clean Out Day. But, it’s not for cleansing the soul… but for cleaning computers!
2. How do they say February in other languages?
The word February translates to over 100 other languages. Some of these languages are as follows:
- Èryuè – Chinese (Mandarin)
- Februari – Dutch
- Février – French
- Februar – German
- Febbraio – Italian
- Februarius – Latin
3. Why is February shortened to 28 days?
Believe it or not, a past Roman superstition made this happen.
The Roman King Numa Pompilius added January and February to the original 10 month calendar to fully sync a new calendar with the lunar year.
However, Numa wanted to avoid having even numbers in his calendar, as Roman superstition at the time held that even numbers were unlucky.
To try and avoid this, he chose February, a month that would be host to Roman rituals honoring the dead, as the unlucky month to consist of 28 days.
4. Why does it become 29 days every four years? And why is it called a leap year?
It’s time for some leap year facts? Relative to avoiding even numbers, Numa added a leap month at a certain interval – with February having 29 days every four years.
The term “leap” is supposed to describe how the calendar catches up with the Earth’s orbit.
By adding a 29th day to February, the calendar year was synchronized with the astronomical year.
5. How many people are born on February 29?
The probability of February 29 birthdays is 1 in 1,461.
U.S. Census Bureau data reveals that only about 0.07% or 205,000 people in the U.S. have a February 29 birthday.
Another interesting fact about February: People born on February 29 are called “leapers.” How cool is that!?
6. How and when do “Leapers” celebrate their birthday?
“Leapers” get to celebrate their actual birthdays only every four years.
They usually celebrate their birthdays on February 28 or March 1 and use these dates on official documents.
Famous “leapers” are Pope Paul III, Tony Robbins, Mark Foster and Ja Rule. Sorry they aren’t the most famous celebrities there!
7. People born on a leap day are technically younger!
Technically, if you were born on leap day, you’d be younger than your actual age.
Let’s say you were born on February 29, 1993. If you count the non-leap years, you’re 28-years-old (obviously). However, if you just count the leap years, you’ll only be 7-years-old. This could be the secret to eternal youth!
8. No full moon?
February is the only month in the year that could miss having a full moon completely. Some months get a blue moon (two full moons in a month), and February often ends up with none!
However, sometimes, like in 2022, the full moon of February is called the Snow Moon.
9. Can you spell February?
Don’t worry, this isn’t a spelling bee, but just another of those random February facts.
Statistically, February is among the most frequently misspelled words in the English language, with the first ‘r’ often overlooked.
In 2015, even White House officials misspelled the word. And that wasn’t even under the Trump administration!
10. A month for the lovers
Just like December is for Christmas, February is for Valentine’s Day. This is on the 14th February every year.
Here’s a little Valentine’s Day trivia. About 144 million worth of greeting cards are purchased for Valentine’s Day yearly. And that’s in the U.S. alone!
Also, on February 29th of a leap year, women often take the lead and are the ones to propose. This is a long tradition. Would you wait for a leap year though to ask the person of your dreams to get married though?
11. Surprisingly, the flower of February isn’t the rose
Because of Valentine’s Day, you’d probably think the flower of February is the rose. Well, you’d be wrong. It’s actually the violet and the primrose.
Violets signify watchfulness, loyalty, and faithfulness. Give a violet to someone to let them know you’ll always be there for them!
The other February birth flower is the primrose, which lets someone know you can’t live without them.
12. What other events are celebrated in February?
Here are some of the happenings in February:
February 2: Groundhog Day
Made famous by Bill Murray’s 1993 movie Groundhog Day, this North American tradition suggests that a groundhog seeing its shadow on February 2 indicates that winter will be six weeks longer; otherwise, spring will arrive soon.
February 12: Chinese New Year
February 12: Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday
Lincoln served for four years as the 16th president of the United States. He was born in 1809 in a small cabin 3 miles south of Hodgenville, Kentucky.
Every 3rd Monday of February: Presidents’ Day
This occasion was initially established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington. Today, it is generally viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents, past and present.
Whole Month of February: Black Month History
In 1926, black leaders sought to honor the legacy of Lincoln and Frederick Douglass on their birthdays. They expanded the occasion to celebrate Black people’s history and achievements.
13. The Little Month
In Welsh, February is sometimes known as “y mis bach” which means “little month.” This is such a perfect description of February, isn’t it?
14. February is considered a perfect month
Once every six years, February is the only month that has four, full seven-day weeks. When this is from Monday to Monday for four weeks, it’s thought to be a ‘perfect month’.
15. A month for football fans
February is also an important month for football fans, as two teams face each other in the Super Bowl on the first Sunday of February.
16. Aquarius and Pisces are the zodiac signs
The western zodiac signs in February are Aquarius which is until February 19th, and Pisces, which is until February 20th.
17. The birthstone of February is the amethyst
Thought to symbolize royalty with it’s purple hue, this quartz stone does have many other colors and can be sourced in many areas of the world. You can learn all about this amazing and surprising stone in our facts about amethyst!
Who wants more fun facts?
If you’re looking for some recommendations, these are a few of our favorite fact books to buy. We use these when planning fun trivia nights with family and friends!
So there you have it, those were all of our facts about February? Do you have a new-found respect for this surprising month? You can let us know in the comments below!