February Holidays

FEBRUARY HOLIDAYS AND HISTORY

While February is known to be full of paper hearts and chocolate, it has a few things going for it, despite being the shortest month on the calendar. February gets to the heart of the holidays that educate and makes us giggle at the quirky ones, too. February isn’t just about love; it’s more well-rounded than you think. 

First off, let’s cover a little history of the second month in the year. February joined the calendar with January around 700 B.C. During the ancient Roman festival Lupercalia, celebrants used thongs made from goatskin in purification rituals, which took place during the month, earning it the name februarius.

February wasn’t always second. When Numa Pompilius first added February to the calendar in 700 BC, he placed it at the end of the calendar. That’s right, February was the last month on the calendar. The adjustment aligned the calendar with the lunar cycle. However, Roman superstition avoided even numbers so the calendar resulted in every month having 29 days except one – February. Numa Pomplius placed this unlucky short month at the end of the year. And there, February remained for nearly 200 years when January and February moved to the beginning of the year. 

Julius Caesar attempted to align the calendar with the solar season creating the Julian calendar. Under the current Gregorian calendar, the leap year functions differently. Leap years are divisible by four, with one exception. Centennial years must be divisible by 400.

Weather & Seasons

February is the third month of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and the snowiest month of the year. The Southern Hemisphere is wrapping up the last summer month. It should be no surprise that the full moon in February is named the Snow Moon. Keep in mind, though, that since February is a short month, it sometimes doesn’t even have a full moon.

What’s Your Sign?

Interestingly, one of the earliest flowers to bloom in February is the primrose which even blooms through the snow. It is also February’s birth flower.

If you are born in February, you are either an Aquarius or a Pisces. Both are water signs, Aquarius represented by the water bearer and Pisces represented by a pair of fish. Your birthstone is the pretty purple quartz called amethyst.

Five Fast Facts

1. Those born in February share their birthdays with:

  • Langston Hughes
  • James Joyce
  • Ayn Rand
  • Elizabeth Blackwell
  • Norman Rockwell
  • James Michener
  • Nathan Lane
  • Chris Rock
  • Michael C. Hall
  • Tomas Edison
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Martin Luther King
  • Nina Simone
  • Rosa Parks
  • Gertrude Stein
  • George Washington
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Alice Cooper
  • Garth Brooks
  • Ashton Kutcher
  • Mary Steenburgen
  • Jennifer Aniston
  • Ice-T
  • John Travolta
  • Smokey Robinson
  • Sidney Poitier
  • Drew Barrymore

2. The Anglo-Saxons called February Sol-monath, meaning “cake month.” Though they offered cake to the gods in February, we suggest having cake with some friends. And of course, there is a cake holiday to celebrate in February, too!

3. There is a 1 in 1,461 chance of a leap day birthday.

4. February is derived from the Latin februo which means purity or to cleanse.

5. Because February usually has 28 days, once every 6 years, it’s the only month to have 4 full 7 day weeks. In the years that aren’t leap years (otherwise known as common years), February and March start on the same day of the week.

Throughout February, we enjoy chowing down on homemade soups, grilled cheese sandwiches, chili, stuffed peppers, and cherry pie. This is especially true in the Northern Hemisphere, where the winters get a little more than brisk. In the Southern Hemisphere, summer is peaking.

Everyone loves to talk about Ground Hog Day, Valentine’s Day, and the Super Bowl in February. However, the big news in February is that pitchers and catchers report kicking off spring training for a new baseball season. What’s a truer sign of spring?