February-How Short Thou Art!
by Jose Acosta
"Why are there only 28 days in February?" Is it because it comes at such a dreary time of the year and we want to get through it as quick as possible? Did it lose a day to another month? Can we only take so much love (Valentines Day!!)? Hmmm! Well if the truth be known, all of these reasons have been proposed. Allow me to provide some interesting facts!
First of all, back in the early Roman times, January and February did not even exist as part of the calendar. The year only had around 300 days with 10 months until Numa, a Roman king, decided to add more days via January and February. Since the Romans thought even numbers were unlucky, he made seven of the months 29 days long, and four months 31 days long. But Numa needed one short, even-numbered month to make the number of days work out to 355. February got elected. It was the last month of the year (January didn't become the first month until centuries later) and it was in the middle of winter, and presumably, if there had to be an unlucky month, better to make it a short one.
Many years later, Julius Caesar reorganized the calendar yet again, giving it 365 days. Some say he made February 29 days long, 30 in leap year, and that Augustus Caesar later pilfered a day; others say Julius just kept it at 28. None of this changes the underlying truth: February is so short mainly because it was the month nobody liked much. How about you? Do you like February?
Here are some additional interesting tidbits that occurred in the month of February:
You can find more interesting facts about the month of February at these following links:
- February 1st in History: 1790 - Supreme Court convenes for the first time
- February 2nd in History: 1653 - New Amsterdam (later renamed New York) is founded
- February 3rd in History: 1877 - The piano piece 'chopsticks' is copyrighted
1966 - First soft landing on the Moon by spacecraft Luna 9
- February 4th in History: 1783 - England officially proclaims an end to hostilities in America
- February 5th in History: 1922 - The very first 'Readers Digest' appears on the shelves
1971 - The US Apollo 14 (Shepard and Mitchell) lands on the Moon
- February 7th in History: 1984: US astronaut Bruce McCandless is the first person to 'Spacewalk'
- February 8th in History: 1926 - Walt Disney Studios is formed
- February 12th in History: 1950 - Albert Einstein warns against hydrogen bomb.
1961 - First spacecraft to the planet Venus launched
- February 13th in History: 1924 - King Tut's tomb is opened
- February 17th in History: 1883 - Vacant/Engaged toilet door sign patented
1972 - Over 15 million Volkswagen 'Beetle' sold
- February 19th in History: 1906 - William Kellogg founds his breakfast cereal company
- February 20th in History: 1962 - John Glenn orbits the Earth three times
- February 24th in History: 1938 - Nylon's first commercial use, in toothbrush bristles
- February 28th in History: 1854 - The Republican Party is formally organized
1912 - First ever parachute jump from an airplane
The Straight Dope