February is the second month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. It is the shortest month of the year as it is the only month to have a length of less than 30 days. The month has 28 days in common years or 29 days in leap years, with the quadrennial 29th day being called the "leap day."
February is the third month of meteorological winter in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, February is the last month of summer (the seasonal equivalent of August in the Northern Hemisphere, in meteorological reckoning).
- 1 Pronunciation
- 2 History
- 3 Patterns
- 4 Astronomy
- 5 Astrology
- 6 February symbols
- 7 Observances
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
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.
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.
February observances in Ancient Rome include Amburbium (precise date unknown, Sementivae (February 2), Februa (February 13–15), Lupercalia (February 13–15), Parentalia (February 13–22), Quirinalia (February 17), Feralia (February 21), Caristia (February 22), Terminalia (February 23), Regifugium (February 24), and Agonium Martiale (February 27). These days do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar.
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].
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 a priest, Blaž Potočnik. Another name of February in Slovene was vesnar, after the mythological character Vesna.
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, 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.
February meteor showers include the Alpha Centaurids (appearing in early February), the Beta Leonids, also known as the March Virginids (lasting from February 14 to April 25, peaking around March 20), the Delta Cancrids (appearing December 14 to February 14, peaking on January 17, the Omicron Centaurids (late January through February, peaking in mid-February), Theta Centaurids (January 23-March 12, only visible in the southern hemisphere), Eta Virginids (February 24 and March 27, peaking around March 18), and Pi Virginids (February 13 and April 8, peaking between March 3 and March 9).
- 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.
This list does not necessarily imply either official status nor general observance.
- In Catholic tradition, February is the Month of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
- American Heart Month (United States)
- Black History Month (United States, Canada)
- LGBT History Month (United Kingdom)
- National Bird-Feeding Month (United States)
- Season for Nonviolence: January 30-April 4 (International observance)
- Turner Syndrome Awareness Month (United States)
Non-Gregorian observances, 2017
(Please note that all Baha'i, Islamic, and Jewish observances begin on sundown prior to the date listed, and end on the sundown of the date in question)
- February 3: Ratha Saptami (Hinduism)
- February 7: Shia day of Remembrance: Battle of the Camel (Islamic calendar)
- February 8: Anthesteria Pithoigia (Attic calendar, modern Hellenism (religion))
- February 9: Anthesteria Choes (Attic calendar, modern Hellenism (religion))
- February 10: Anthesteria Chytroi (Attic calendar, modern Hellenism (religion))
- February 10: Guru Ravidass Jayanti (Indian National Calendar, Ravidassia religion)
- February 10/11: Magha Puja (Buddhism)
- February 11: Daeboreum (Korean calendar)
- February 11: Shabbat Shirah (Jewish calendar)
- February 11: Shia day of Mourning: Martyrdom of Janab-e-Fatima-az-Zahra, 11 A.H (Islamic calendar)
- February 11: Tu B'Shevat (Jewish calendar)
- February 12: Kumbha Sankranti
- February 12: Shia day of Celebration: Birth of Imam Zain-ul-Abideen(a.s), 37 A.H. (Islamic calendar)
- February 17-23: Lesser Mysteries (Attic calendar, modern Hellenism (religion))
- February 18: 22 Shevat (Jewish calendar) Chabad sect only)
- February 18: Shabbat Parah (Jewish calendar)
- February 19: Fast of Pilegesh Bagiva, optional, generally only observed by Chevra kadisha (Jewish calendar)
- February 23: Sepandārmazgān (Iranian calendar)
- February 24: Shabbat Shekalim (Jewish calendar)
- February 24-25: Hobiyee (Nisga'a people, Canada) 
- February 25-28: Ayyám-i-Há (Bahá'í calendar) 
- February 26: Amavasya (Hinduism) 
- February 26: Yom Kippur Katan, optional (Jewish calendar)
- February 27: Hecate's Deipnon  (Attic calendar, modern Hellenism (religion))
- February 27: Losar (Tibetan calendar)
- February 27: Rosh Chodesh of Adar (Jewish calendar)
- February 28: Noumenia  (Attic calendar, modern Hellenism (religion))
Movable observances, 2017 dates
- Safer Internet Day: February 7
- Food Freedom Day (Canada): February 8
- National Day of the Sun: (Argentina) Date varies based on providence
- Random Acts of Kindness Week: February 12-18 
First Friday - February 3
First Saturday - February 4
First Sunday - February 5
First Week of February (first Monday, ending on Sunday) - February 6–12
First Monday - February 6
Second Day of the second week - February 7
Second Saturday - February 11
Second Sunday - February 12
- Autism Sunday (United Kingdom)
- Children's Day (Cook Islands, Nauru, Niue, Tokelau, Cayman Islands)
- Mother's Day (Norway)
- World Marriage Day
Second Monday - February 13
Second Tuesday - February 14
Third Thursday - February 16
Third Friday - February 17
Week of February 22 - February 19-25
Third Monday - February 20
- Family Day (Canada) (provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Saskatchewan)
- President's Day/Washington's Birthday (United States)
Last Friday - February 24
Last Saturday - February 25
Last Tuesday - February 28
Last day of February - February 28
Movable Western Christian Observances - 2017 dates
- Septuagesima – February 17
- Sexagesima – February 19
- Fat Thursday – February 23
- Festum Ovorum (University of Oxford) – February 25 (Saturday before Ash Wednesday)
- Quinquagesima – February 26 (Sunday before Ash Wednesday)
- Shrove Monday – February 27
- Shrove Tuesday - February 28
Movable Eastern Christian Observances - 2017 dates
- Publican & Pharisee Sunday – February 5 (10th Sunday before Pascha)
- Sunday of the Prodigal Son – February 12 (9th Sunday before Pascha) 
- Meatfare Week February 12-19
- Saturday of Souls February 18
- Maslenitsa February 19-27
- Sunday of Last Judgement (Meat Fare Sunday) February 19
- Feast of Saint Vartan: February 23 (Thursday of the 8th week before Pascha, Armenian Apostolic Church)
- Quinquagesima February 26
- Sunday of Forgiveness (Cheese-Fare Sunday) February 26
- Great Lent February 27
- February 1
- Abolition of Slavery Day (Mauritius)
- Air Force Day (Nicaragua)
- Federal Territory Day (Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya, Malaysia)
- Heroes' Day (Rwanda)
- Imbolc (Ireland, Scotland, Isle of Man, and some Neopagan groups in the Northern hemisphere)
- Lammas (some Neopagan groups in the Southern hemisphere)
- Memorial Day of the Republic (Hungary)
- National Freedom Day (United States)
- World Hijab Day
- February 2
- Anniversary of Treaty of Tartu (Estonia)
- Constitution Day (Philippines)
- Day of Youth (Azerbaijan)
- Feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple (or Candlemas) (Western Christianity), and its related observances:
- Groundhog Day (United States and Canada)
- Inventor's Day (Thailand)
- National Tater Tot Day (United States)
- World Wetlands Day
- February 3
- February 4
- February 5
- February 6
- International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation
- Ronald Reagan Day (California, United States)
- Sami National Day (Russia, Finland, Norway and Sweden)
- Waitangi Day (New Zealand)
- February 7
- February 8
- February 9
- February 10
- February 11
- 112 day (European Union)
- Armed Forces Day (Liberia)
- Day of Revenue Service (Azerbaijan)
- Evelio Javier Day (Panay Island, the Philippines)
- Feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes (Catholic Church), and its related observance:
- Inventors' Day (United States)
- National Foundation Day (Japan)
- Youth Day (Cameroon)
- February 12
- Darwin Day (International)
- Georgia Day (Georgia (U.S. state))
- International Day of Women's Health
- Lincoln's Birthday (United States)
- National Freedom to Marry Day (United States)
- Red Hand Day (United Nations)
- Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Day (Canada)
- Union Day (Myanmar)
- Youth Day (Venezuela)
- February 13
- February 14
- February 15
- February 16
- February 17
- February 18
- February 19
- February 20
- February 21
- February 22
- Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter (Roman Catholic Church)
- Independence Day (Saint Lucia)
- Celebrity Day (Church of Scientology)
- Founder's Day or "B.-P. day" (World Organization of the Scout Movement)
- National Margarita Day (United States)
- World Thinking Day (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts)
- February 23
- Mashramani-Republic Day (Guyana)
- Meteņi (Latvia)
- National Banana Bread Day (United States)
- National Day (Brunei)
- Red Army Day or Day of Soviet Army and Navy in the former Soviet Union, also held in various former Soviet republics:
- February 24
- February 25
- Armed Forces Day (Dominican Republic)
- Kitano Baika-sai or "Plum Blossom Festival" (Kitano Tenman-gū Shrine, Kyoto, Japan)
- Meher Baba's birthday (followers of Meher Baba)
- Memorial Day for the Victims of the Communist Dictatorships (Hungary)
- National Day (Kuwait)
- People Power Day (Philippines)
- Revolution Day (Suriname)
- Soviet Occupation Day (Georgia)
- February 26
- February 27
- February 28
- February 29
- "February | Definition of February by Merriam-Webster". Merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2016-09-17.
- "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] (PDF) (in Slovenian). Municipality of Dobrova-Polhov Gradec. 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-11-02.
- Vasmer, Max, ed. (1972). "Zeitschrift für slavische Philologie". 36–37. Markert&Petters: 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 Slovenian, English, and German) (56). ISSN 1318-6280.
- "Zodiac Signs". Mistupid.com. Retrieved 2016-09-17.
- "Birth Month Flowers". Babiesonline.com. Retrieved 2016-09-17.
- "February Birthstone | Amethyst". Americangemsociety.org. Retrieved 2016-09-17.
- 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.