The Months of the Year
Naming February - Month of Februa
February is the second month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars and is the only month that has fewer than 30 days. It was named after the Latin word februum, which means purification because the month was a time for purification.
- Middle English - Februarius
- Latin name - Februarius mensis - Month of Februa
- Latin - dies februatus - Day of Purification
- Old English - Solmonath - mud month
History of February
The old Roman calendar considered winter a monthless period, thus it only consisted of 10 months. The month of February was added, along with January around 700 BCE by Numa Pompilius so that the calendar would equal a standard lunar year of 355 days. February became the second month of the year around 450 BCE, although it was originally the last month of the year in the old Roman calendar.
February was shortened to either 23 or 24 days at certain intervals in the Roman calendar, in which a 27 day intercalary month was inserted after February to realign the year with the seasons. During the Julian calendar reform, the intercalary month was abolished and leap years were added every fourth year thus February gained a 29th day in leap years.
Position in the Year
February is the second month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendar and consists of 28 days in common years and 29 days in leap years. It did not exist in the 10-month Roman calendar. It is considered the seasonal equivalent of August in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the only month that can pass without a single full moon.
February starts on the same day of the week as March and November in common years. During leap years, February starts on the same day of the week as August. Once every six years and twice every 11 years, the month of February will have only four full seven-day weeks, where the first day of the month starts on a Sunday and ends on a Saturday.
February's birth flower is the violet and the common primrose.
The birthstone for February is the amethyst which symbolizes piety, humility, spiritual wisdom and sincerity.