Why Does February Have 28 Days? Explained in Detail
With only 28 days (29 in leap years), it is also the year’s shortest month. So, why doesn’t February have the usual 30-31 days, and what is the significance of leap years? Why does February have 28 days? This is all you ought to know about it.
It turns out it’s not because February has always been disliked by humankind. The odd timing of the month can be traced back to the Roman calendar’s 10-month cycle, which began in March and concluded in December. That’s correct. January and February didn’t exist for a long time. Winter was a nameless slog for the Romans, who made their living by planting and harvesting. There was no way for a good portion of the year to keep track of the days.
Why does February only have 28 days?
Numa Pompilius, Rome’s second king, established February as a 28-day month. Before this, Romulus, Rome’s first king, did not count the months of January and February in the year’s calendar because he believed they were unimportant because they produced no harvest. When Pompilius took control, he intended to make a more in-tune calendar, adding January and February to correspond to the 12 lunar months.
They were initially introduced at the end of the year, which is why the Lunar Calendar restarts in February.
Even numbers were thought to be unlucky. Therefore almost every month had 29 or 31 days. However, there had to be one unlucky month- February to add up to the old 355 days in a year. February was the month for honoring the deceased and performing purification ceremonies, as the word February meant “to purify” in the ancient Sabine dialect.
Why is February given a leap day?
But February is not just the shortest month; it’s also the unique one whose length varies from year to year. On leap years, one additional day is added to the calendar every four years, making February 29 days long. Why?
We know that the Earth takes 365 and a half days to complete its orbit around the sun. That is why leap days are necessary; they ensure that the calendar is as precise as possible. Ben Gold, an astronomy and physics professor at Hamline University, told CBS Local Minnesota that Julius Caesar was the one who said for this major adjustment. Julius Caesar, according to legend, adored the Egyptian solar calendar. It had 365 days with an additional month thrown in now and then when “astronomers noticed the correct conditions in the stars.” Caesar decided to add a leap day every fourth year to avoid being so reliant on the stars. February was given an extra day.
Pope Gregory XIII established the Gregorian calendar in 1582. February 29, or the leap day Caesar inserted in 45 BCE, was designated an official date.
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Why was the year initially 355 days long?
The lunar cycle is 364.3 days long; however, it was adjusted to 355 days to avoid becoming unlucky. A leap of 27 days in February would be required to restore the 0.75 of a day every four years.
The seasons began to slip out of sync with the months and days when the alignment didn’t add up. Until Julius Caesar ordered a sun expert to design a calendar reflecting the sun’s cycle (solar) in 45 B.C., there were only 355 days in the year.
Except for February, the Julian calendar extended a little more than ten days to each year, making each month 31 or 30 days long. However, because there was still a partial day left over, the days were rounded to 29 every four years, resulting in the leap year. This is no longer the name of the Julian calendar; instead, it is now known as the Georgian calendar.
Why do we use Georgian dates?
Pope Gregory XIII established the Gregorian calendar in 1582. The main variation from the Julian calendar is that no century year is a leap year unless it is divisible by 400 exactly – for example, 1600 and 2000.
This was because the calendar would drift out of sync with the seasons every century, and by the time the new calendar was created, the days had drifted out by about ten days. As a result, in 1582, October 4 was replaced by October 15 to reclaim the lost days and implement the new calendar.
The leap month was incongruent, and it, too, had problems. Julius Caesar commissioned an expert to construct a sun-based calendar similar to the Egyptian calendar in 45 B.C. Except for February, the Julian calendar added a little more than ten days to each year, keeping 30 or 31 days long each month. One day was given to February every four years to account for the whole 365.25-day-long year, now known as a “leap year.” In most years, this resulted in February having only 28 days.