Thirty days have November,
April, June, and September.
Of 28 is but one
And all the remnant 30 and 1.
Happy first day of the shortest month of the year. After a January that felt like a year-long month, I am actually looking forward to the abbreviated month of February, perhaps for the first time in my life. After we’ve all (hopefully) remembered to say “rabbits, rabbits, rabbits” this morning for a little bit of luck to get us through the cold days ahead, here is a list of 28 factoids to help us celebrate this shortest month of the year.
- February wasn’t even part of the evolving Roman calendar, or the Calendar of Romulus (named after the legendary first king of Rome), which commenced with the month of March (the spring equinox) and ended with December. The coldest and darkest part of the year was of no use to harvesters and planters and remained nameless until King Numa Pompilius said, “Hey, what’s the point of having a calendar when we are ignoring one-sixth of the year?” Thus, the calendar was reformed to align with the lunar cycles and those nameless days became January and February, but they originally fell at the end of the year!
- Punxsutawney Phil lives in a climate-controlled habitat attached to the Punxsutawney Memorial Library. Although the in-person celebration at Gobbler’s Knob has been suspended this year, you can witness the Prognosticator of Prognosticators predict our wintery fate starting at 6:30 a.m. EST here: https://www.groundhog.org/
- February 3 is known as the The Day the Music Died, commemorating the untimely death of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper. Their pilot, Roger Peterson, also perished in the crash.
- President Gerald Ford decreed Black History Month a national observance in 1976, on both the fiftieth anniversary of the first iteration and America’s bicentennial year. Every year since, the American president, issues a proclamation endorsing the annual theme chosen by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the Founders of Black History Month. This year’s theme is The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.
- It’s also known as “National Fasting February,” a month for transforming new health resolutions into healthy habits and lifestyles.
- President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed first American Heart Month in February 1964 via Proclamation 3566 on Dec. 30, 1963.
- Every Super Bowl since 2002 has occurred in February, but as the Packers aren’t in it this year, I couldn’t care less.
- February 8 is Kite Flying Day. Area forecast calls for a high of 6 degrees and 12 mph winds from the WNW. No thank you.
- February was the most commonly misspelled word in the state of New Jersey in 2016 according to a Google search trends report. What was the most commonly misspelled word in Wisconsin that year? Vacuum.
- The play Death of a Salesman premiered on February 10, 1949. Oddly enough, its playwright, Arthur Miller, died on the same day fifty-six years later.
- Perhaps one of the oddest national days on the calendar, February 11 is known as “National Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day.”
- Yes, the 16th president of the United States was born on the morning of February 12, 1809 in a one-room log cabin with a dirt floor, but did you also know that Abraham Lincoln was kicked in the head by a horse as a child and presumed dead? Maybe that explains why he became such a successful vampire hunter. February 12, 2021 is also the first day of the first month on the Chinese calendar, marking the beginning of the Chinese New Year. 2021 is the Year of the Ox.
- Charles “Chuck” Yeager was born on February 13, 1923. He was the first pilot in history confirmed to break the sound barrier in level flight, and he accomplished this amazing feat on October 14, 1947 with two broken ribs.
- Those same ancient Romans that gave us the month of February may also be responsible for the name of our modern day celebration of Valentine’s Day, but for some pretty dark reasons. Emperor Claudius II executed two men named Valentine in two separate years during the 3rd Century C.E. On a lighter note, one in four people buy Valentine’s Day gifts for their pets and almost half admit to cuddling their dog more than their partner.
- Did you know that Presidents Day (a.k.a. President’s Day or Presidents’ Day) is not a national holiday? However, it is a great day for boosting car sales.
- February 16th, or “Do a Grouch a Favor Day,” and may or may not have been invented by Big Bird. If you have a grouch in your life, try to engage with them through an act of kindness and break them out of their slump. After all, as Oscar the Grouch would say, “It’s called a garbage can, not a garbage cannot.”
- Some fun factoids for February 17th: Sardines were first canned in Maine, Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase incensed viewers, the PTA was founded, and Elvis Presley was awarded his first gold album for “Elvis.”
- Pluto was discovered in 1930. Joke’s on them. They totally thought it was a planet.
- The Anglo-Saxon name for the month of February was Solmōnaþ, in modern English this translates as hearthcake. During this month, they offered cakes to their gods. For some great cake recipes, check out our system’s collection of cake cookbooks.
- Now that you’ve had some cake, how about a slice of pie? February 20 is Cherry Pie Day. Grab a slice of cherry pie and a cup of coffee, because as Special Agent Dale Cooper would say, “Every day, once a day, give yourself a present.”
- February is also known as “Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month.” This has been observed since 1969.
- I’ll be taking my dog for a walk today, as February 22 is Walking the Dog Day, but I do that every day, so maybe I’ll spend the day learning this Yoyo trick instead…
- February 23rd is the 54th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, the calendar that is used in most of the world. There are 311 days remaining until the end of the year. The Gregorian Calendar is more accurate than the Julian Calendar it replaced, but it is still off by one day every 3,236 years.
- In 1712, Sweden and Finland actually had a Double Leap Year, creating a February 30. If the odds of being born on February 29 are 1 in 4,691, just imagine the odds of having been born that day! (I’m not a statistician. If you want to do the math, you can let me know the odds in the comments).
- The Beatles made their first appearance on the “Ed Sullivan Show” in February 1964. Over 73 million Americans tuned in to watch the Fab Four perform. Despite the turnout in viewers, the show’s musical producer didn’t really care for them and was quoted as saying to the New York Times: “The only thing that’s different is the hair, as far as I can see. I give them a year.”
- February 26th is National Pistachio Day. Not only are these little nuts fun to crack, they’re heart-healthy, too! (see number 6) Fun facts about pistachios: they grow on trees, the trees take 7-10 years to mature, in China they are called “the happy nut,” and while Pandas are mostly known for eating bamboo, they also love pistachios because they are crispy and sweet. Oh, and they are great on ice cream!
- A month without a full moon can only happen in the month of February, and it takes almost 20 years for the cycle of lunar phases to work out just right. However, the Snow Moon will rise at 3:19 a.m. EST on February 27. This moon represents the time to come out of our rest and hibernation and for our intentions for the year to truly manifest.
- Final fun factoid for February: According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, February 28 is the best day to: quit smoking, begin diet to lose weight, have dental care, harvest below ground crops, wean animals or children, and pick fruit, all based on the position of the Moon.