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February is the second month of the year in the Julian and
Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar is the calendar A calendar is a system of organizing days. This is done by giving names to periods of time, typically days, weeks, months and years. A calendar date, date is the designation of a single, speci ...
s. The month has 28 days in
common year A common year is a calendar year A calendar is a system of organizing days. This is done by giving names to periods of time Time is the indefinite continued sequence, progress of existence and event (philosophy), events that occur in ...
s or 29 in
leap year A leap year (also known as an intercalary year or wikt:bissextile, bissextile year) is a calendar year that contains an additional day (or, in the case of a lunisolar calendar, a month) added to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astron ...

leap year
s, with the 29th day being called the ''leap day''. It is the first of five months not to have 31 days (the other four being April, June, September, and November) and the only one to have fewer than 30 days. February is the third and last month of
meteorological winter Winter is the coldest season of the year in Polar regions of Earth, polar and temperate climate, temperate zones; it does not occur in most of the Tropics, tropical zone. It occurs after autumn and before spring (season), spring in each year ...
in the
Northern Hemisphere The Northern Hemisphere is the half of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remain ...

Northern Hemisphere
. In the
Southern Hemisphere The Southern Hemisphere is the half (hemisphere Hemisphere may refer to: * A half of a sphere As half of the Earth * A hemispheres of Earth, hemisphere of Earth ** Northern Hemisphere ** Southern Hemisphere ** Eastern Hemisphere ** Western He ...

Southern Hemisphere
, February is the third and last month of
meteorological summer Summer is the Heat, hottest of the four temperate seasons, falling after Spring (season), spring and before autumn. At or around the summer solstice (about 3 days before Midsummer Day), the earliest sunrise and latest sunset occurs, the day ...
(being the seasonal equivalent of what is August in the Northern Hemisphere).


Pronunciation

February is pronounced either as or . Many people drop the first "r", replacing it with , as if it were spelled "''Febuary''". This comes about by analogy with "January" (), as well as by a
dissimilation In phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of ev ...
effect whereby having two "r"s close to each other causes one to change.


History

The Roman month was named after the Latin term , which means "purification", via the purification ritual held on February 15 (full moon) in the old lunar
Roman calendar The Roman calendar was the calendar A calendar is a system of organizing days. This is done by giving names to periods of time, typically days, weeks, months and years. A calendar date, date is the designation of a single, specific ...
. 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 Numa Pompilius (; 753–673 BC; reigned 715–673 BC) was the legendary second king of Rome The king of Rome ( la, rex Romae) was the chief magistrate Chief magistrate is a public official, executive or judicial, whose office is the highest ...

Numa Pompilius
about 713 BC. February remained the last month of the calendar year until the time of the
decemvirs The decemviri or decemvirs (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the ...
(c. 450 BC), when it became the second month. At certain times February was truncated to 23 or 24 days, and a 27-day intercalary month,
Intercalaris Mercedonius (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman R ...
, was occasionally inserted immediately after February to realign the year with the
season A season is a division of the year based on changes in weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere An atmosphere (from the greek words ἀτμός ''(atmos)'', meaning 'vapour', and σφαῖρα ''(sphaira)'', meaning 'ball' or ...

season
s. February observances in
Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who stud ...
included
Amburbium The Amburbium ("City Circuit", from ''ambire'', "to go around" + ''urb-'', "city"; plural ''amburbia'') was an Roman festivals, ancient Roman festival for purifying the city; that is, a lustrum, lustration ''(lustratio urbis)''. It took the form of ...
(precise date unknown),
Sementivae Sementivae, also known as Feriae Sementivae or Sementina dies (in the country called Paganalia), was a Roman festival Festivals in ancient Rome were a very important part of Roman religious life during both the Republican Republican can ref ...
(February 2),
Februa Lupercalia was a pastoral festival of Ancient Rome observed annually on February 15 to purify the city, promoting health and fertility. Lupercalia was also known as ''dies Februatus'', after the purification instruments called ''februa'', the ba ...
(February 13–15),
Lupercalia Lupercalia was a pastoral A pastoral lifestyle is that of shepherds herd A herd is a social group of certain animals of the same species, either wildness, wild or Domestication, domestic. The form of collective animal behavior assoc ...
(February 13–15),
Parentalia In ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a ...
(February 13–22),
Quirinalia In Roman mythology Roman mythology is the body of myths of ancient Rome as represented in the Latin literature, literature and Roman art, visual arts of the Romans. One of a wide variety of genres of Roman folklore, ''Roman mythology'' may a ...

Quirinalia
(February 17),
Feralia Ferālia was an ancient Roman public festival Dumézil, Georges. ''Archaic Roman Religion''. pg 366. celebrating the Manes In ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ethnic religion of Ancient Rome that the ancien ...
(February 21),
Caristia In ancient Rome, the Caristia, also known as the Cara Cognatio, was an official but privately observed holiday on February 22, that celebrated love of family with banqueting and gifts. Families gathered to dine together and offer food and incense ...
(February 22), Terminalia (festival), Terminalia (February 23), Regifugium (February 24), and Agonalia#Agonium Martiale, 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 The Gregorian calendar is the calendar A calendar is a system of organizing days. This is done by giving names to periods of time, typically days, weeks, months and years. A calendar date, date is the designation of a single, speci ...
reforms made slight changes to the system for determining which years were leap years, but also contained a 29-day February. Historical names for February include the Old English language, 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 , 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 language, Polish and Ukrainian language, Ukrainian, respectively, the month is called or (), meaning the month of ice or hard frost. In Macedonian language, Macedonian the month is (), meaning month of cutting (wood). In Czech, it is called , meaning month of submerging (of river ice). In Slovene language, Slovene, February is traditionally called , related to icicles or Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, Candlemas. This name originates from , written as 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 , 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 (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 , after the mythological character Vesna.


Patterns

Having only 28 days in common years, February is the only month of the year that can pass without a single full moon. Using Coordinated Universal Time as the basis for determining the date and time of a full moon, this last happened in 2018 and will next happen in 2037. The same is true regarding a new moon: again using Coordinated Universal Time as the basis, this last happened in 2014 and will next happen in 2033. February is also the only month of the calendar that, at intervals alternating between one of six years and two of eleven years, has exactly 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 occurred in 1965, 1971, 1982, 1993, 1999, 2010 and 2021, and will occur again in 2027. 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 1987, 1998, 2009 and 2015. 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.


Astronomy

February meteor showers include the Alpha Centaurids (appearing in early February), the Virginids#March Virginids, 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), Virginids#Eta Virginids, Eta Virginids (February 24 and March 27, peaking around March 18), and Virginids#Pi Virginid, Pi Virginids (February 13 and April 8, peaking between March 3 and March 9).


Astrology

The western zodiac signs of February were Aquarius (astrology), Aquarius (until February 18, 2020) and Pisces (astrology), Pisces (February 19, 2020 onwards). In 2021 they will shift to 17–18 due to the leap day in 2020.. Signs in UT/GMT for 1950–2030.


February symbols

*Its birth flowers are the violet (''Viola (plant), Viola''), the common primrose (''Primula vulgaris''), and the Iris (plant), Iris. *Its birthstone is the amethyst. It symbolizes piety, humility, spiritual wisdom, and sincerity. The zodiac signs for the month of February are Aquarius (until February 20) and Pisces (February 20 onwards).


Observances

''This list does not necessarily imply either official status nor general observance.''


Month-long observances

* 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, LGBT+ History Month (United Kingdom) * National Bird-Feeding Month (United States) * National Children's Dental Health Month (United States) * Season for Nonviolence: January 30 – April 4 (International observance) * List of Month-long observances#February, Turner Syndrome Awareness Month (United States)


Non-Gregorian observances, 2020

''(All Baha'i, Islamic, and Jewish observances begin at the sundown prior to the date listed, and end at sundown of the date in question unless otherwise noted.)'' *List of observances set by the Bahá'í calendar *List of observances set by the Chinese calendar *List of observances set by the Hebrew calendar *List of observances set by the Islamic calendar *List of observances set by the Solar Hijri calendar


Movable observances, 2020 dates

*Food Freedom Day (Canada): February 9 *Safer Internet Day: February 11 *Random Acts of Kindness Day: February 17 *National Day of the Sun: (Argentina) Date varies based on providence First Saturday: February 1 *Ice Cream for Breakfast Day First Sunday: February 2 *Mother's Day (Kosovo) *Super Bowl Sunday (United States) First Week of February (first Monday, ending on Sunday): February 2–9 *Doppelganger Week *World Interfaith Harmony Week First Monday: February 3 *Constitution of Mexico, Constitution Day (Mexico) *List of food days#February, National Frozen Yogurt Day (United States) First Friday: February 7 *National Wear Red Day (United States) Second Saturday: February 8 *International Purple Hijab Day Second Sunday: February 9 *Autism Sunday (United Kingdom) *Children's Day (Cook Islands, Nauru, Niue, Tokelau, Cayman Islands) *Mother's Day (Norway) *World Marriage Day Second Monday: February 10 *Meal Monday (Scotland) Second Tuesday: February 11 *National Sports Day (Qatar) Week of February 22: February 16–22 *National Engineers Week (U.S.) Third Monday: February 17 *Family Day (Canada) (provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.) *President's Day, President's Day/Washington's Birthday (United States) Third Thursday: February 20 *Global Information Governance Day Third Friday: February 21 *Family Day (Canada), Yukon Heritage Day (Canada) Last Friday: February 28 *International Stand Up to Bullying Day Last Saturday: February 29 *Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher, Open That Bottle Night Last day of February: February 29 *Rare Disease Day


Fixed observances

*February 1 **Mauritius#Holidays and festivals, 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 Neopaganism, Neopagan groups in the Northern hemisphere) **Lammas (some Neopaganism, Neopagan groups in the Southern hemisphere) **Memorial Day of the Republic (Hungary) **National Freedom Day (United States) *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: ***A quarter day in the Christian liturgical calendar (due to Candlemas) (Scotland) ***Celebration of Yemanja#Brazil, Yemanja (Candomblé) **Groundhog Day (United States and Canada) ***Marmot Day (Alaska, United States) **Inventor's Day (Thailand) **List of food days#February, National Tater Tot Day (United States) **World Wetlands Day *February 3 **The Day the Music Died, Anniversary of The Day the Music Died (United States) **Communist Party of Vietnam Foundation Anniversary (Vietnam) **Day of the Virgin of Suyapa (Honduras) **Heroes' Day (Mozambique) **Martyrs' Day (São Tomé and Príncipe) **Setsubun (Japan) **Veterans' Day (Thailand) *February 4 **Day of the Armed Struggle (Angola) **Independence Day (Sri Lanka) **Rosa Parks Day (California and Missouri, United States) **World Cancer Day *February 5 **Crown Princess Mary's birthday (Denmark) **Kashmir Solidarity Day (Pakistan) **Liberation from the Alberoni Occupation, Liberation Day (San Marino) **National Weatherperson's Day (United States) **Runeberg's Birthday (Finland) **Unity Day (Burundi) *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 **Independence Day (Grenada) *February 8 **Parinirvana Day (some Mahayana Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhist traditions, most celebrate on February 15) **Prešeren Day (Slovenia) **Propose Day *February 9 **List of food days#February, National Pizza Day (United States) **Public holidays in Lebanon, St. Maroun's Day (Maronite Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, public holiday in Lebanon) *February 10 **Feast of St. Paul's Shipwreck (Public holiday in Malta) **Fenkil Day (Eritrea) **National Memorial Day of the Exiles and Foibe (Italy) *February 11 **112 (emergency telephone number)#European 112 Day, 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: ***World Day of the Sick (Catholic Church, Roman Catholic Church) **Inventors' Day (United States) **National Foundation Day (Japan) **Youth Day (Cameroon) *February 12 **Darwin Day (International observance, International) **Georgia Day (Georgia (U.S. state)) **List of awareness days#February, International Day of Women's Health **Lincoln's Birthday (United States) **National Freedom to Marry Day (United States) **Red Hand Day (United Nations) **List of awareness days#February, Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Day (Canada) **Union Day (Myanmar) **Youth Day (Venezuela) *February 13 **Children's Day (Myanmar) **World Radio Day *February 14 **List of U.S. states by date of admission to the Union#List of U.S. states, Statehood Day (Arizona, United States) **List of U.S. states by date of admission to the Union#List of U.S. states, Statehood Day (Oregon, United States) **Presentation of Jesus at the Temple (Armenian Apostolic Church) **V-Day (movement) (International observance, International) **Valentine's Day (International observance, International) ***Singles Awareness Day *February 15 **Candlemas (Eastern Orthodox Church) **International Duties Memorial Day (Russia, regional) **John Frum Day (Vanuatu) **Liberation Day (Afghanistan) **National Flag of Canada Day (Canada) **List of food days#February, National I Want Butterscotch Day (United States) **Parinirvana Day (most Mahayana Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhist traditions, some celebrate on February 8) **First Serbian Uprising, Serbia's National Day **Statehood Day (Serbia) **Susan B. Anthony Day (United States) **The ENIAC Day (Philadelphia, United States) **Total Defence Day (Singapore) *February 16 **Day of the Shining Star (North Korea) **Act of Independence of Lithuania, Restoration of Lithuania's Statehood Day (Lithuania) *February 17 **Independence Day (Kosovo) **Random Acts of Kindness Day (United States) **Public holidays in Libya, Revolution Day (Libya) *February 18 **National Democracy Day (Nepal) **Dialect Day (Amami Islands, Japan) **Independence Day (Gambia) **Kurdish Students Union Day (Iraqi Kurdistan) **Wife's Day (Iceland) *February 19 **Armed Forces Day (Mexico) **Brâncuși Day (Romania) **Commemoration of Vasil Levski (Bulgaria) **Flag Day (Turkmenistan) **Shivaji, Shivaji Jayanti (Maharashtra, India) *February 20 **List of people killed during Euromaidan, Day of Heavenly Hundred Heroes (Ukraine) **Thomas Roy#Special days, Northern Hemisphere Hoodie-Hoo Day **World Day of Social Justice *February 21 **International Mother Language Day **Language Movement Day (Bangladesh) *February 22 **Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter (Roman Catholic Church) **Independence Day (Saint Lucia) **Scientology holidays, Celebrity Day (Church of Scientology) **Scouts' Day, Founder's Day or "B.-P. day" (World Organization of the Scout Movement) **List of food days#February, National Margarita Day (United States) **World Thinking Day (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) *February 23 **Mashramani-Republic Day (Guyana) **Meteņi (Latvia) **List of food days#February, 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: ***Defender of the Fatherland Day (Russia) ***Defender of the Fatherland and Armed Forces day (Belarus) **Emperor's Birthday (Japan) *February 24 **Dragobete (Romania) **Engineer's Day (Iran) **Flag Day in Mexico **Independence Day (Estonia) **Thailand National Artist, National Artist Day (Thailand) **Sepandārmazgān or "Women's Day" (Zoroastrian, Iran) *February 25 **Armed Forces Day#Dominican Republic, Armed Forces Day (Dominican Republic) **''Kitano Tenman-gū, Kitano Baika-sai'' or "Plum Blossom Festival" (Kitano Tenman-gū, Kitano Tenman-gū Shrine, Kyoto, Japan) **Meher Baba#Legacy, Meher Baba's birthday (followers of Meher Baba) **Memorial Day for the Victims of the Communist Dictatorships (Hungary) **National Day (Kuwait) **People Power Revolution, People Power Day (Philippines) **Public holidays in Suriname, Revolution Day (Suriname) **Soviet Occupation Day (Georgia) *February 26 **Liberation Day (Kuwait) **Public holidays in Azerbaijan, Day of Remembrance for Victims of Khojaly massacre (Azerbaijan) **National Wear Red Day (United Kingdom) **Saviours' Day (Nation of Islam) *February 27 **Anosmia Awareness Day (International observance) **Doctors' Day (Vietnam) **International Polar Bear Day **Majuba Day (some Afrikaners in South Africa) **Marathi Language Day (Maharashtra, India) **Public holidays in the Dominican Republic, Independence Day (Dominican Republic) **Anti-Bullying Day (Canada) *February 28 **Public holidays in Armenia, Day of Remembrance for Victims of Massacres in Armenia (Armenia) **Andalusia Day (Andalusia, Spain) **Kalevala Day (Finland) **National Science Day (India) **Peace Memorial Day (Taiwan) **Teachers' Day (Arab states) *February 29 **Bachelor's Day (tradition), Bachelor's Day (Republic of Ireland, Ireland, United Kingdom) **List of food days#February, National Frog Legs Day (United States)


References


Further reading

* 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.


External links


The Straight Dope: How come February has only 28 days?
* {{Authority control February, Months, *02