The second month in the Gregorian calendar, February, is the shortest month. In common years, February has 28 days; in leap years, it has 29 days.
The last leap day was observed on February 29, 2016. The next leap day will occur on February 29, 2020.
February is the only month that can pass without a full moon.
“In February of 2018, there is not a full moon phase simply because of the way the calendar works. A moon’s orbit is 29 1/2 days. Since February only has 28 days, there are some years when February will not have a full moon. When this happens, both January and March will have two full moons each. The last happened in 1999 and will happen again in 2037. Specifically, the sequences of full moons to start 2018 are: Jan. 1, Jan. 31, March 1 and March 31,” according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
The word, February, derives from the Latin term, februa, meaning “to cleanse.” The Roman calendar month, Februarius, was named for an atonement and purification festival held this time of year.
February’s birth flower is the violet. Violets represent modesty, faithfulness, spiritual wisdom and humility.
Amethyst, a purple quartz, is the February birthstone. Ancient Greeks believed those wearing amethyst were protected from Bacchus (a.k.a. Dionysus), the god of intoxication.
Aquarians and Pisces are born in the month of February, according to the zodiac horoscope. Aquarians are born Jan. 21 to Feb. 19. Pisces are born from Feb. 20 to March 20. Aquarians are “independent, humanitarian, original, and intellectual,” and Pisces are “compassionate, artistic, intuitive, gentle, and wise,” according to ftd.com.
Numerous notable Americans were born in February:
Feb. 3, 1894: Norman Rockwell, illustrator and artist, was born in New York City.
Feb. 4, 1902: Charles Lindbergh, aviation pioneer, was born in Detroit, Michigan.
Feb. 6, 1895: George Herman “Babe” Ruth, famous baseball player, was born in Baltimore, Maryland.
Feb. 8, 1820: William Tecumseh Sherman, Union Civil War General, was born in Lancaster, Ohio.
Feb. 9, 1773: William Henry Harrison, 9th U.S, President, born in Berkeley, Virginia.
Feb. 11, 1847: Thomas Edison, inventor, was born in Milan, Ohio.
Feb. 12, 1809: Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. President, was born in Hardin County, Kentucky.
Feb. 13, 1892: Grant Wood, artist (“American Gothic” painting), was born near Anamosa, Iowa.
Feb. 15, 1809: Sirus McCormick, inventor of the horse-drawn mechanical reaper, was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia.
Feb. 22, 1732: George Washington, 1st U.S. President, was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia.
Feb. 26, 1846: “Buffalo Bill” Cody, frontiersman, was born in Scott County, Indiana.
Feb. 27, 1807: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, poet, was born in Portland, Maine.