22 Fabulous Facts about February

February is the month of love, winter, and history.

February is the only month of the year to have only 28 days (with the exception of leap years, of course).

It's a month to prepare for spring: bringing the promise of longer days in the Northern hemisphere.

Here we go, let's delve into the 22 most fantastic but bizarre facts about February.


1. The name of February comes from the Latin word "februum," which means purification.
February was named after a purification ritual which was like an early Roman spring cleaning festival.

2. February fluctuates between having 28 and 29 days per year.
The 29th day only occurs every 4 years during leap years.

Did you know that the phenomenon that occurs every four years is in fact a corrective measure? The actual number of days in a regular year is 365.2422 days long, and not 365 days. That is why the extra day is added to February, the shortest month, to balance out this discrepancy, and play catch up.

3. The odds of being born on February 29th are about 1 in 1,461. Those born on a leap day can be called a "leaper" or "leapling."

4. The leap day is also the only time when women are traditionally permitted to break with customs and propose to their partners, and according to recent research 52% of people are more inclined to do so on February 29th.

Why do women propose in a leap year?

Firstly, in the 5th Century an Irish nun called St Bridget complained to St Patrick that women had to wait too long for their suitors to propose.

Supposedly, St Patrick offered women the opportunity to pop the question themselves, on the condition that it was only every four years – but it wasn't until much later in the 19th Century this tradition was normalised.

Another superstition discusses the unmarried Queen Margaret of Scotland. She allegedly introduced a law in 1288 allowing women freedom to propose during a leap year, but penalised any man who refused them.

There was also another catch; the woman proposing had to wear a red petticoat under her skirt to warn her intended suitor of her intentions.

Nevertheless scholars are doubtful if this theory is accurate, as they haven't located any record of such law.

It's also a possibility that the tradition of women conducting leap year proposals originates from the time when leap days weren't actually recognised by English law at all.

Therefore as the day had no legal status, it was permissible for women to break with the convention of a man proposing.

5. In ancient times, at one point, the month of February had as little as 23 days. The number of days in February kept changing over time.

6. In 713 B.C., February was officially added to the Roman calendar.
The length of February was finalized when Julius Caesar remade the Roman calendar and assigned the month 28 days and 29 days.

7. Unless it's a leap year, February, March, and November start on the same day of the week as each other.

8. February and January were the last months added to the Roman numeral calendar.

9. In Welsh, February is sometimes known as "y mis bach," which means "little month."

10. The Saxons called February "Sol-monath" which means "cake month," because they would offer cakes to the gods during February.

11. In the Northern Hemisphere, February is the third month of winter.
Ihe Southern Hemisphere, February is the last month of summer.
Between the North and South Hemispheres, February is the equivalent of August.

12. Amethyst is the birthstone for February.
Amethyst is a purple gemstone that symbolizes peace, stability, and strength.

13. The birth flowers of February are violets and primroses.

14. Valentine's Day is a popular day all over the world. In America alone, 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year.
However, it is believed that this day originated from the Roman festival of Lupercalia, which celebrated fertility and love.

15. February is the only month where it's possible to go the entire time without having a full moon.

16. The western zodiac signs in February are Aquarius which is until February 19th, and Pisces, which is until February 20th.

17. February has been Black History Month for over 40 years.

18. Of all the words you can misspell, February is one of the most misspelled words in the English language.
Even the White House has misprinted the word "February" before in a press release!

19. It was in February 1964 when The Beatles made their first American television appearance on the "Ed Sullivan Show."
Over 73 million Americans watched!

20. On February 2, 1848, U.S. and Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended their war.
The U.S. paid Mexico $15 million in exchange for California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Texas.

21. There are many U.S. states that entered the Union during the month of February.
These include Massachusetts, Oregon, Arizona, and Mississippi, which were readmitted.

22. On February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle "Columbia" broke apart in flight, which killed all seven crew members. The accident was believed to be a result of damage that occurred during lift-off. The tragedy occurred only 16 minutes before the shuttle was scheduled to land.

Also Read: 29 Marvelous Facts About March

Ducksters.com / Wikipedia / Metro