Facts about February

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1. February is Februa in Latin

The word February is derived from Februa, a Latin word that means cleansing. It referred to purification rituals performed before spring. The Romans had a purification god whom they called Februus. Februus was also an underworld god called the Etruscan. Originally, ancient Romans had their calendar beginning in March and ending in December.

2. Leap Year

During the leap year, the month of February has an additional day that helps keep the calendar synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal year. On the Gregorian calendar, the month of February has 29 days as opposed to the normal 28 days.

3. Leap Year was developed by Egyptians

The idea of a leap year was developed by ancient Egyptians. At the time, leap year was a way of solving the problem of not getting a precise division to the year in terms of days. However, the Romans are the ones who identified the 29th day of February as the official leap year date. The leap year is also referred to as the bissextile or intercalary year.

4. Leap Day Occurrence

A leap day occurs in years whose days are can evenly be divided by four and leap days do not occur in years that are divisible by 100 unless those years can also be divided by 400. So, there were no leap days in 1900 and 1800 but there was a leap day in the year 2000.

5. Leap Years are different in the Lunisolar Calendar

On the Lunisolar calendar that is in Hebrew, leap years are different. In this system, there is an extra 13th month known as lunar month that is added 7 times after every 19 years. On the Gregorian calendar, February is the shortest month despite the fact that it has an extra day added to it on the leap year.

6. 355 Day Calendar

Before Julius Caesar, a calendar that had 355 days and 22 days extra after every 2 years was in use. However, this was a complex solution to the challenge and soon, festive days started getting into various seasons. As a result, Caesar asked his astronomer named Sosigenes to make things easier. Sosigenes recommended a 365 day year and an additional day after every 4 years to recoup the extra hours. This gave rise to the extra day in February, an idea that Pope Gregory XIII fine-tuned.


7. Leap Year Birthdays

Persons who are born on 29th February are known as leaplings or leapers. Chances of being born on a leap day are 1 in every 1,461 births. Leap day birthdays can pose a challenge for leapers who have to at least live for 8 decades to celebrate their 18th birthday. To avoid this confusion, the law has allowed leapers to attain the age of majority on 1st March of their 18th year.


8. Unique talents

Astrologers suggest that persons who are born on 29th February usually possess unusual talents that include high creativity abilities and make good advisers. Some of the notable leaplings include Gioacchino Rossini, a composer, Pope Paul III and Aileen Wuornos, an American serial killer. Notable leaplings that are alive to date include Wendi Peters, a former Street Star, Crystal Palace midfielder, Darren Ambrose and rapper Ja Rule.

9. February had Even Numbers

Prior to the calendar reforms undertaken by Julius Caesar in 46 BC, February was the single month whose days were even. In those days, odd numbers were considered to be luckier than even numbers. After the leap year was introduced, February had 28 days and the extra day was derived from counting 24th February twice.

10. Solmonath

The Anglo-Saxons referred to the month of February as Solmonath which meant the month of mud. On Google, February registers about 423 million hits and the misspelt version, Febuary, registers about 310 million hits. The leap year is the single time that a month starts and ends on with same day of the week.

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