February

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This article is about the month. For other uses, see February (disambiguation).
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February is the second month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. It is the shortest month of the year as it is the only month to have a length of less than 30 days. The month has 28 days in common years or 29 days in leap years, with the quadrennial 29th day being called the "leap day."

February is the third month of meteorological winter in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, February is the last month of summer (the seasonal equivalent of August in the Northern Hemisphere, in meteorological reckoning).

Pronunciation

February may be pronounced either as (Listeni/ˈfɛbjuːˌɛri/ or /ˈfɛbrˌɛri/ FEB-ew-ERR-ee or FEB-roo-ERR-ee). Many people pronounce it as (Listeni/juː/ ew rather than /r/ roo), as if it were spelled "Feb-u-ary". This comes about by analogy with "January" (which ends in "-uary" but not "-ruary"), as well as by a dissimilation effect whereby having two "r"s close to each other causes one to change for ease of pronunciation.[1]

History

February, Leandro Bassano
Chocolates for St. Valentine's Day

The Roman month Februarius was named after the Latin term februum, which means purification, via the purification ritual Februa held on February 15 (full moon) in the old lunar Roman calendar. 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 about 713 BC. February remained the last month of the calendar year until the time of the decemvirs (c. 450 BC), when it became the second month. At certain intervals February was truncated to 23 or 24 days, and a 27-day intercalary month, Intercalaris, was inserted immediately after February to realign the year with the seasons.

February observances in Ancient Rome include Amburbium (precise date unknown, Sementivae (February 2), Februa (February 13–15), Lupercalia (February 13–15), Parentalia (February 13–22), Quirinalia (February 17), Feralia (February 21), Caristia (February 22), Terminalia (February 23), Regifugium (February 24), and 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 reforms made slight changes to the system for determining which years were leap years and thus contained a 29-day February.

Historical names for February include the 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 helmikuu, 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 and Ukrainian, respectively, the month is called luty or лютий, meaning the month of ice or hard frost. In Macedonian the month is sechko (сечко), meaning month of cutting [wood]. In Czech, it is called únor, meaning month of submerging [of river ice].

In Slovene, February is traditionally called svečan, related to icicles or Candlemas.[2] This name originates from sičan,[3] written as svičan 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 sečan, meaning "the month of cutting down of trees".[2]

In 1848, a proposal was put forward in Kmetijske in rokodelske novice by the Slovene Society of Ljubljana to call this month talnik (related to ice melting), but it did not stick. The idea was proposed by a priest, Blaž Potočnik.[4] Another name of February in Slovene was vesnar, after the mythological character Vesna.[5]

Patterns

Having only 28 days in common years, it is the only month of the year that can pass without a single full moon. This last happened in 1999 and will next happen in 2018.

February is also the only month of the calendar that, once every six years and twice every 11 years consecutively, either back into the past or forward into the future, will have 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 was observed in 2010 and can be traced back 11 years to 1999, 6 years back to 1993, 11 years back to 1982, 11 years back to 1971 and 6 years back to 1965, and will be observed in 2021. 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 2015 (11 years earlier than 2026), 2009 (6 years earlier than 2015), 1998 (11 years earlier than 2009) and 1987 (11 years earlier than 1998). This works unless 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 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), Eta Virginids (February 24 and March 27, peaking around March 18), and Pi Virginids (February 13 and April 8, peaking between March 3 and March 9).

Astrology

The western zodiac signs of February are Aquarius (until February 19) and Pisces (February 20 onwards).[6]

February symbols

The violet
  • Its birth flower is the violet (Viola) and the common primrose (Primula vulgaris).[7]
  • Its birthstone is the amethyst. It symbolizes piety, humility, spiritual wisdom, and sincerity.[8]

Observances

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

Month-long observances

Non-Gregorian observances, 2017

(Please note that all Baha'i, Islamic, and Jewish observances begin on sundown prior to the date listed, and end on the sundown of the date in question)

Movable observances, 2017 dates

First Friday - February 3

First Saturday - February 4

First Sunday - February 5

First Week of February (first Monday, ending on Sunday) - February 6–12

First Monday - February 6

Second Day of the second week - February 7

Second Saturday - February 11

Second Sunday - February 12

Second Monday - February 13

Second Tuesday - February 14

Third Thursday - February 16

Third Friday - February 17

Week of February 22 - February 19-25

Third Monday - February 20

Last Friday - February 24

Last Saturday - February 25

Last Tuesday - February 28

Last day of February - February 28

Movable Western Christian Observances - 2017 dates

Movable Eastern Christian Observances - 2017 dates

Fixed observances

References

  1. ^ "February | Definition of February by Merriam-Webster". Merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2016-09-17. 
  2. ^ a b "Koledar prireditev v letu 2007 in druge informacije občine Dobrova–Polhov Gradec" [The Calendar of Events and Other Information of the Municipality of Dobrova–Polhov Gradec] (PDF) (in Slovenian). Municipality of Dobrova-Polhov Gradec. 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-11-02. 
  3. ^ Vasmer, Max, ed. (1972). "Zeitschrift für slavische Philologie". 36–37. Markert&Petters: 115. 
  4. ^ "Slovenska imena mesecev" [Slovene Names of Months]. Kmetijske in rokodelske novice. 6 (37). 13 September 1848. 
  5. ^ Bogataj, Janez (2005). "Slovenska mitologija – Vesna" [Slovene Mythology – Vesna]. Bilten; poštne znamke [Bulletin: Postage Stamps] (in Slovenian, English, and German) (56). ISSN 1318-6280. 
  6. ^ "Zodiac Signs". Mistupid.com. Retrieved 2016-09-17. 
  7. ^ "Birth Month Flowers". Babiesonline.com. Retrieved 2016-09-17. 
  8. ^ "February Birthstone | Amethyst". Americangemsociety.org. Retrieved 2016-09-17. 
  9. ^ http://www.hellenion.org/calendar/2017/2017HellenionCalendar.html
  10. ^ http://www.hellenion.org/calendar/2017/2017HellenionCalendar.html
  11. ^ http://www.hellenion.org/calendar/2017/2017HellenionCalendar.html
  12. ^ https://www.onlinejyotish.com/sankranti-dates.php#sthash.2d0UQ27o.dpbs
  13. ^ http://www.hellenion.org/calendar/2017/2017HellenionCalendar.html
  14. ^ http://www.nisgaanation.ca/event/hobiyee-celebration-2017
  15. ^ http://bahaiblog.net/site/bahai-calendar/
  16. ^ http://www.hindu-blog.com/2009/01/amavasi-days-in-2009-amavasya-no-moon.html
  17. ^ http://www.hellenion.org/calendar/2017/2017HellenionCalendar.html
  18. ^ http://www.hellenion.org/calendar/2017/2017HellenionCalendar.html
  19. ^ http://www.cfa-fca.ca/programs-projects/food-freedom-day-2017
  20. ^ https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/
  21. ^ https://oca.org/fs/paschal-cycle
  22. ^ https://oca.org/fs/paschal-cycle

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

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