February is the second month of the year according to the Julian Calendar and the Gregorian Calendar and it is the shortest month of the year, having only 28 days in common years and 29 days in leap years.
The name February comes from the ancient Roman Februarius. According to the Ancient Roman Calendar, February was the last month of the year, except when it was occasionally followed by Intercalaris, a month of variable length periodically added to the end of the year to keep the seasons properly aligned.
The name Februarius comes from Februa, meaning “to cleanse”.
Other names for February
- Old English Solmonath “cake month” or kalemonath (for cabbage)
- Finnish helmikuu “month of the pearl” referring to melted droplets that refreeze and look like pearls
- Polish luty month of ice
- Ukrainian лютий month of ice
- Macedonian sechko month of cutting wood
- Czech únor month of submerging (river ice)
- Croatian veljača (possibly) month of increase
- Sloven vesnar for Vesna or svečan which referenced Candlemas
Some February Folklore
The days of February 12th through the 14th were said to be borrowed from the month of January and so it was expected that the weather should be cold and January-like. Stormy winter weather on these days foretold fair weather for the rest of the year.
But if these days are pleasant, or indeed if any days in February are too pleasant, it didn’t bode well for the weather the rest of the year.
More weather lore
If the weather be fine and frosty at the start of February, there is more winter ahead than behind.
When the cat lies in the sun in February, she will hide behind the stove in March.
Cursed be a fair February.
If February has much snow, a fine summer it doth foreshow.
If there be thunder in February, there will be frost in April
“If Candlemas Day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another flight
But if it be dark with clouds and rain,
Winter is gone, and will not come again.”
If Candlemas be fair and clear, there’ll be two winters in the year.
And, of course, it takes a nice day for a groundhog to see his shadow.
A wet February, A wet Spring
(not such a bad thing)
The Moon in February
A new moon falling in February will be either in the sign of Aquarius, in the first half of the month or the sign of Pisces after about the 21st.
A full moon falling in February may be called The Full Snow Moon, The Storm Moon, The Full Quickening Moon, The Full Ice Moon or the Full Hunger Moon and it will be in the sign of either Leo or Virgo.
Symbols and Correspondences for February
Important Dates in February
Note: Seasonal holidays celebrated in February in the Northern Hemisphere are often celebrated in August in the Southern Hemisphere.