The month that might be most-famous for a weather forecasting rodent.
“Punxatawney Phil”, the groundhog of renown from Gobblers Knob, PA gives us the weather forecast every year on the 2nd of the month.
Never mind that he-she-it is only right about 36% of the time on a two-option forecast.
We keep going back for the prognostication.
This month might be the most mispronounced month that we have as well.
“February” is from the Latin word “februs” meaning “to cleanse”.
“Februlia” was a month-long festival of purification and atonement.
Some of us can remember when we celebrated the birthdays of our 16th US President, Abraham Lincoln, on the 12th, and then the “Father of our Country”, the first American President, George Washington, on the 22nd.
Remember getting the silhouettes of those two Chief Executives on mimeographed sheets of paper that we would color in class?
And, who didn’t love the aroma of that mimeograph paper?
Count me in!
This shortest of month gets a reprieve every 4 years when its’ 28 day count goes to 29.
“Leap year” keeps our modern day Gregorian calendar in alignment with the earth’s revolution around the sun.
It takes this old globe of ours 365.2452189 days to circle once around the sun.
To be precise, it’s actually 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 42 seconds.
“Leap year” is also referred to as an “intercalary year” or a “bisextile year” and all the others are “common years”.
Pope Gregory XIII introduced us to the Gregorian calendar in 1582.
Prior to that, Julius Caesar implemented the first leap day in his Julian calendar in or around 45BCE. He also gets the 7th month of the year named in his honor.
Interesting to note that in those days, “Leap Day” was February 24th and February was the last month of the year.
Those wacky Romans!
It’s been suggested that February only had 28 days due to the jealousy of Roman emperors.
According to this “conspiracy theory” of sorts, the month had 30 days before the reign of Roman emperor Augustus, for whom the 8th month of the year is named.
February was chosen for this “Leap Year” business since it was the lone month without at least 30 days credited to it.
We get a “Leap Day” in 2020.
If a year is divisible by 4, it is a “Leap Year”.
On the actual “Leap Day” or the 29th, women are supposed to be able to propose to their boyfriends.
Sounds somewhat like an old funny page story.
If you remember Al Capp’s “Li’l Abner” comic strip, they used to observe “Sadie Hawkins Day”.
Sadie, the daughter of Hekzebiah Hawkins was called the “homeliest gal in all them hills”.
When she reached the age of 35, she was still a spinster, so Hekzebiah called all the unmarried men of Dogpatch together and declared it “Sadie Hawkins Day”.
A foot race was ordered with Sadie pursuing the town’s eligible bachelors.
Seems Sadie had the hots for a handsome lad named Adam who was already courting Theresa.
Theresa’s daddy was the area’s largest potato farmer and his daughter had several suitors. So these single guys were literally running for their marital freedom.
The Sadie Hawkins Day danced you might remember from days gone by are connected to the comic strip story. It’s when women are to ask men for a date or a dance.
However, it’s normally on November 13th and not “Leap Day” or the 29th day in February.
Babies born on this once-every-four-year date of February 29th are called “leaplings or “leapers”.
The odds of that happening are about one in 1,461.
The Keoghs in Ireland bested those odds thrice.
They recorded 3 consecutive generations born on Leap Day in 1940, 1964 and 1996.
They, and all other “leaplings” or “leapers” would be eligible to join the “Honor Society of Leap Day Babies” which reportedly has 11,000 worldwide members.
There are two self-proclaimed “Leap Year Capitals of the World” in Anthony, Texas and Anthony, New Mexico.
I understand they have several days of festivals and celebrations.
Even though it’s the shortest month, February is also home to Valentines Day, when love overcomes all.
It gives Hallmark the reason to sell mushy cards while the candy and flower industry get to rake in a few extra dollars.
That reminds me of covering a milk carton with aluminum foil and taping paper hearts to it for the big Valentine’s Day card exchange in school.
Remember buying those boxes of cards and trying to match them up with each classmate, especially that one you were especially sweet on?
But February is also home to “Adopt a Rabbit Month”, “Snack Food Month”, “Barley Month”, “Sweet Potato Month”, “Declutter for a Cause Month”, “Spunky Old Broad’s Month”, “Great American Pies Month”, “Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month”, Library Lovers Month”, “Pull Your Sofa off the Wall Month”, “Love the Bus Month”, “Goat Yoga Month”, Bid Feeding Month” and “Cherry Month”.
February also celebrates “Jello Week” and “Flirting Week”.
February might be down a bit in the day count, even with Leap Year, but it still packs a bit of a punch when you consider all that’s celebrated in the 2nd month of the year.