February (i// or // FEB-ew-ERR-ee or FEB-roo-ERR-ee) 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 or 29 days in leap years.
February is the third month of meteorological winter in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, February is the third month of summer (the seasonal equivalent of August in the Northern Hemisphere, in meteorological reckoning).
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 on the same day of the week as January in common years only. In leap years, it is the only month that ends on the same weekday it begins.
The Roman month Februarius 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. In Macedonian the month is sechko (сечко), meaning month of cutting [wood]. In Czech, it is called únor, meaning month of submerging [of river ice]. Croatians call the month veljača, whose meaning is unknown but may come from the word for "greater," a possible reference to the days increasing in length.
In Slovene, February is traditionally called svečan, related to icicles or Candlemas. This name originates from sičan, written as svičan in the New Carniolan Almanac from 1775 and changed to its final form by Franc Metelko in his New Almanac from 1824. The name was also spelled sečan, meaning "the month of cutting down of trees". In 1848, a proposal was put forward in Kmetijske in rokodelske novice by the Slovene Society of Ljubljana to call this month talnik (related to ice melting), but it did not stick. The idea was proposed by the priest and patriot Blaž Potočnik. Another name of February in Slovene was vesnar, after the mythological character Vesna.
February may be pronounced either as (i// or // FEB-ew-ERR-ee or FEB-roo-ERR-ee). Many people pronounce it as (i// ew rather than // roo), as if it were spelled "Feb-u-ary". This comes about by analogy with "January" (which ends in "-uary" but not "-ruary"), as well as by a dissimilation effect whereby having two "r"s close to each other causes one to change for ease of pronunciation.
February starts on the same day of the week as both March and November in common years, and as August in leap years. February ends on the same day of the week as October every year and on the same day of the week as January in common years only. In leap years, it is the only month that ends on the same weekday it began.
Having only 28 days in common years, it is the only month of the year that can pass without a single full moon. This last happened in 1999 and will next happen in 2018.
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. In countries that start their week on a Sunday, it occurs in a common year starting on Thursday, with the next occurrence in 2015, and previous occurrences in 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.
Events in February
- National Bird-Feeding Month (United States)
- Black History Month (United States and Canada)
- National Green Week: February 1 - April 30 (United States)
- LGBT History Month (United Kingdom)
- American Heart Month (United States)
- Season for Nonviolence: January 30-April 4
- Zacchaeus Sunday (Eastern Orthodox) (may be in February) 2015 date: January 25
- Publican & Pharisee: (Eastern Orthodox) (may be in January) 2015 date: February 1
- Super Bowl: (United States, First Sunday of February) 2015 date: February 1
- Guru Ravidass Jayanti (Ravidassia) 2015 date: February 3
- Beginning of Falgun (Hinduism 2015 date: February 3
- Thaipusam: (Tamil Hinduism, may be in January) 2015: February 3
- Tu BiShvat: (Judaism, may be in January) 2015 date: February 4
- Doppelganger week First week in February, starting on the first Monday and ending on Sunday. 2015 date: February 2 - February 8
- National Wear Red Day (United States): (First Friday in February) February 6
- Autism Sunday: (United Kingdom, second Sunday in February) 2015 date: February 8
- Prodigal Son (Eastern Orthodox): February 8
- Children's Day (Cook Islands, Nauru, Niue, Tokelau, Cayman Islands, Second Sunday of February) 2015 date: February 8
- World Marriage Day: (Second Sunday of February) 2015 date: February 8
- Meal Monday: (Scotland, second Monday of February) 2015 date: February 9
- Carnival of Madeira: (Madeira, Easter-based, may be in March) 2015 date: February 13-17
- Festum Ovorum: (Saturday before Ash Wednesday) 2015 date: February 14
- Barranquilla's Carnival (Easter-based, may be in March) 2015 date: February 14-17
- Carnaval de Ponce: (Ponce, Puerto Rico, Easter-based, may be in March) 2015 date: February 14-17
- Meatfare Week (Eastern Orthodox) (may be in in March): 2015 date: February 15
- Quadragesima Sunday: (Easter-based, may be in March) 2015 date: February 15
- Family Day (Canada) (on the third Monday in the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Saskatchewan) 2015 date: February 16
- President's Day: (United States, third Monday of February) 2015: February 16
- Shrove Monday: (Christian, may be in March) 2015 date: February 16
- Rosenmontag: (German regional variation of Shrove Monday)
- Cheesefare Week (Eastern Orthodox, may be in March) 2015 date: February 16–22
- Maslenitsa (Eastern Slavic) 2015 date: February 16–22
- Maha Shivaratri: (Hinduism, may be in March) 2015 date: February 17
- Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday: (May be in March) 2015 date: February 17
- Courir de Mardi Gras: (Cajun regional variation of Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday)
- Fastnacht (Pennsylvania Dutch): (Pennsylvania regional variation of Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday)
- Powder Day: (Tolox, Spain regional variation of Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday)
- Užgavėnės: (Lithunian regional variation of Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday)
- Ash Wednesday (may be in March) 2015 date: February 18
- Losar: (Buddhism) in Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan, may be January or March) 2015 date: February 18–19
- Lunar New Year's Day: (May be in January) 2015 date: February 19
- Chinese New Year: (May be in January) 2015 date: February 19
- Korean New Year: (May be in January) 2015 date: February 19
- Tết: (May be in January) 2015 date: February 19
- First Sunday in Lent, Catholicism: (may be in March) 2015 date: February 22
- National Engineers Week (U.S.): (Week of February 22) 2015 date: February 22–28
- Start of Great Lent (Eastern Orthodox, May occur in March) 2015 date: February 23
- Mashramani: (Guyana), 2015 date: February 23
- World Spay Day: (Last Tuesday in February each year) 2015 date: February 24
- National Wear Red Day (United Kingdom): February 26
- Ayyám-i-Há: Late February to early March (Baha'i). 2015 date: February 26-March 1
- International Stand Up to Bullying Day: (Last Friday in February) 2015 date: February 27
- Magha Puja: (Buddhism in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, may be in March) 2015 date: March 4
- Purim: (Judaism, may be in March) 2015 date: March 4–5
- Holi: (Hinduism, may be in in March) 2015 date: March 6
- National Day of the Sun: (Argentina) Date varies based on providence
- Israeli Apartheid Week: (May be in March or January)
- Federal Territory Day: February 1 (Malaysia)
- National Freedom Day: February 1 (United States)
- St Brigid’s Day / Imbolc : February 1 (Ireland)
- World Hijab Day: February 1
- Candlemas: February 2
- Groundhog Day: February 2 (United States and Canada)
- Inventors' Day: February 2 (Thailand)
- Marmot Day: February 2 (Alaska, United States)
- Setsubun: February 3 Japan
- Day of the Armed Struggle: February 4 (Angola)
- Independence Day (Sri Lanka): February 4
- International Dadaism Month: February 4 (dates are scattered through several months)
- Rosa Parks Day: February 4 (may also be observed on December 1)
- World Cancer Day: February 4
- 1917 Constitution of Mexico: February 5
- National Weatherperson's Day: February 5 (United States)
- International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation: February 6
- Ronald Reagan Day: February 6 (California, United States)
- Sami National Day: February 6
- Waitangi Day: February 6 (New Zealand)
- Parinirvana Day: February 8 (some traditions)
- Prešeren Day: February 8 (Slovenia)
- Propose Day: February 8
- Evelio Javier Day: February 11 (Panay Island, Philippines)
- Inventors' Day: February 11 (United States)
- National Foundation Day: February 11 (Japan)
- Day of Revenue Service (Azerbaijan): February 11
- Youth Day: February 11 (Cameroon)
- Abraham Lincoln's birthday: February 12 (United States)
- Darwin Day: February 12
- 112 Day (Europe): February 12
- National Freedom to Marry Day: February 12 (United States)
- Georgia Day: February 12 (Georgia, United States)
- Red Hand Day: February 12
- Youth Day: February 12 (Venezuela)
- World Radio Day: February 13
- Februa: February 13–15 (Ancient Rome)
- Lupercalia: February 13–15 (Ancient Rome)
- Parentalia: February 13–22 (Ancient Rome)
- Singles Awareness Day: February 14
- Valentine's Day: February 14
- V-day: February 14
- Serbia's National Day : February 15
- National Flag of Canada Day: February 15
- Parinirvana Day: February 15 (some traditions)
- Statehood Day (Serbia): February 15
- Susan B. Anthony Day: February 15 (United States)
- Quirinalia: February 17 (Ancient Rome)
- World Day of Social Justice: February 20
- Feralia: February 21 (Ancient Rome)
- International Mother Language Day: February 21
- Language Movement Day: February 21 (Bangladesh)
- Caristia: February 22 (Ancient Rome)
- Independence Day in Saint Lucia: February 22
- World Thinking Day: February 22
- Defender of the Fatherland Day: February 23 (several former Republics of the Soviet Union)
- Mashramani-Republic Day (Guyana)
- Meteņi: February 23 (Latvia)
- National Day (Brunei)
- Terminalia: February 23 (Ancient Rome)
- Dragobete: February 24 (Romania)
- Flag Day in Mexico: February 24
- Independence Day (Estonia): February 24
- Regifugium: February 24 (Ancient Rome)
- Soviet Occupation Day (Georgia): February 25
- People Power Revolution (Philippines): February 25
- Liberation Day (Kuwait): February 26
- Day of Remembrance for Victims of Khojaly massacre (Azerbaijan): February 26
- National Wear Red Day: February 26 (United Kingdom)
- Saviours' Day: February 26 (Nation of Islam)
- Dominican Republic Independence: February 27
- Equirria: February 27 (Ancient Rome)
- International Polar Bear Day: February 27
- Día de Andalucía: February 28
- National Science Day: February 28 (India)
- Rare Disease Day: Last day of February (either February 28 or February 29)
- Leap Day: February 29 (Every four years, with some exceptions)
- Its birth flower is the violet (Viola) and the common primrose (Primula vulgaris).
- Its birthstone is the amethyst. It symbolizes piety, humility, spiritual wisdom, and sincerity.
- Its zodiac signs are Aquarius (until February 18) and Pisces (February 19 onwards).
- "Koledar prireditev v letu 2007 in druge informacije občine Dobrova–Polhov Gradec" [The Calendar of Events and Other Information of the Municipality of Dobrova–Polhov Gradec] (in Slovenian). Municipality of Dobrova-Polhov Gradec. 2006.
- Vasmer, Max, ed. (1972). "Zeitschrift für slavische Philologie". 36–37. Markert&Petters. p. 115.
- "Slovenska imena mesecev" [Slovene Names of Months]. Kmetijske in rokodelske novice 6 (37). 13 September 1848.
- Bogataj, Janez (2005). "Slovenska mitologija – Vesna" [Slovene Mythology – Vesna]. Bilten; poštne znamke [Bulletin: Postage Stamps] (in Slovene, English, German) (56). ISSN 1318-6280.
- Merriam-Webster Dictionary, February
- "Birth Month Flowers".
- "FEBRUARY BIRTHSTONE".
- "Zodiac signs and date ranges used in astrology".
- Anthony Aveni, "February's Holidays: Prediction, Purification, and Passionate Pursuit," The Book of the Year: A Brief History of Our Seasonal Holidays (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 29–46.
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- The Straight Dope: How come February has only 28 days?
- "February". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911.