February Teacher Resource Guide

February, the shortest month of the year at 28 days, is also the only month whose length sometimes changes from one year to the next. Since the human calendar does not quite match the amount of time it takes for the Earth to go around the sun completely, it's necessary to add an extra day every four years so that the calendar won't shift away from where the months are supposed to fall. Without this extra day, the calendar would eventually 'drift' so far that Christmas would come in summer and there would be snow in July. This day is attached to February, and years when February is 29 days long are called "leap years."

February has always been a variable-length month in European calendars. Back in the days of the Roman emperors, leap years weren't used, so when the calendar got too out of sync with the actual weather, January would be shortened to 23 or 24 days and an extra month called Intercalaris was added to make up the right amount of time. Why February is not only the shortest month, but the one that always has a changeable length regardless of the calendar system, is unclear - perhaps because it is the boundary between winter and spring, and really doesn't seem to fit neatly into any season. Read More About The Month of February

Notable February Holidays, Events, and Celebrations

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