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Why Does February Have 28 Days?

Updated on April 12, 2009

Why Does February Have 28 Days?

Well, calendars are not easy to make. Our calendar today is based on the one that the Romans used, which was very confusing. Apparently Romulus, the first king of Rome, made a 10 month calendar based on lunar cycles that started in March and ended with December. However, it is still unclear whether or not there were any months left out between December and March. It is possible that there were months left out because it would have been winter, and food cannot be grown in the winter. Rome’s second king, Numa Pompilius, created a calendar that was exactly one lunar year long, which is 354 days. Pompilius added two months, January and February, to accommodate for the new days. Both January and February had 28 days then, but Pompilius did not like this because even numbers were considered bad luck. No one knows why, but only January, not February also, was given another day. Some believe it has to do with “Februare”meaning “to purify” in the ancient language of the Sabine tribe.

This 355 day calendar would not stay in line with the 4 seasons, because it did not equal the time it took Earth to orbit Sun. To fix this, a 27 day month was added after February 23 every couple of years to make this even. Some officials called Pontiffs, who were in charge of the calendar, took advantage of the system to keep them in office longer.

Julius Caesar changed everything in approximately 45 B.C., when he decided to make the calendars sun-based, not moon-based (the way the Egyptians did it). Caesar added 10 days to each year, and another day after February 23rd every 4 years. Now every year was 365.25 days long. The actual length of a year is about 365.2425 days. It varies as well.

Some people say that Caesar added the 29th day to February when he changed the calendar, but some say that he left it at 28 days.

Well know you know. Go tell your friends.




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    • profile image

      Sebastian 5 years ago

      February is definitely my least favorite month.

    • parkerk393 profile image

      parkerk393 8 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      You're welcome.

    • Single Mama profile image

      Single Mama 8 years ago

      interesting...thanks for the knowledge...

    • parkerk393 profile image

      parkerk393 9 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      Thanks Trisha. Yes they are very unique.

      Sorry John, it doesn't really work like that... I think you'd have to be born on the 29th like Trisha said.

    • johnb0127 profile image

      johnb0127 9 years ago from TX

      I kinda wish I was born on the 28th. I could say I have celebrated my birthday 16 times, but I am 4!!! LOL!

    • Trisha's Artworks profile image

      Trisha's Artworks 9 years ago

      people born on Febuary 29 are unique...interesting hub...

    • johnb0127 profile image

      johnb0127 9 years ago from TX