Why February Only Has 28 Days

Photo: getty
Why February Only Has 28 Days
Buzz

You can blame Julius Caesar for this one.

February is an interesting month, to say the least. It has a lot of amusing holidays, like Groundhog Day, President's Day, and of course, Valentine's Day. For many, it also has one rainy or snowy day too many. And that's not even mentioning that funny little thing called a leap year. February is the only month where the number of days can change according to the year.

So how did February attain its special status as the shortest month of the year? Turns out, there is a reason why February only has 28 days.

Much like with all good stories these days, the reason February is so short starts with a throwback — a very, very far throwback. The Romans were pretty much obsessed with time and figuring out ways they could use it to their advantage. They were so invested in harvesting and planting that they built their 10-month calendar around it. Obviously, the Romans just weren't that into January and February. The wintertime just wasn't important to them because there couldn't be a harvest in that time period and the Romans based their time around when they could harvest, which was between March and December — hence, the 10-month calendar. 


RELATED: If You Wake Up Every Night At The Same Time, THIS Is What It Means


While the 10-month calendar was credited to the original Roman king, Romulus (which is why it was known as the Romulus calendar), the second king of Rome was not feeling this idea. King Numa thought it made more sense to align the months with the 12 lunar cycles throughout the year, thus January and February were born.

However, this idea didn't totally work for the Romans either.

The 12 lunar cycles came to a total of 355 days, and Numa attempted to make each month end on an odd number because Romans considered even numbers unlucky. However, a 355-day calendar could not be reached without making one month even. And we bet you can guess which lucky month got picked. Since January and February were added in after the 10-month calendar was created, they became the last two months in the year so naturally, February was the easiest to even out since it was the last month.


RELATED: What Your Body's Trying To Tell You When You Wake Up In The Middle Of The Night


Of course, this calendar didn't work out very well. The seasons and months were off and the Romans had a hard time keeping the days straight. Until Julius Caesar came around, that is.

Caesar fixed the calendar so that it lined up with the sun and brought the total number of calendar days to 365. February was now in its rightful place at the top of the calendar — and was 28 only days long. 

No one has really ever been sure why Caesar chose to keep February at 28 days. Perhaps he wanted to prove the superstition of even numbers being unlucky wrong, so he made February the first month to end in an even number. Or maybe he just got tired of counting at that point. Or maybe, just maybe he was getting those February blues. Et tu, Caesar?

RELATED: What It Really Means If You Always See 11:11 On The Clock (And Why People Post It To Social Media)

Author
Editor