01 February 2011

February - Something interesting

February is interesting, not because it has 28 days, or celebrates St Valentine's Day, or Shrove Tuesday but you have to go back to the Romans to find out the beginnings of where February came from.

The Romans borrowed the first calendar long ago from the Greeks who had a year consisting of 10 months, and 304 days. The other 51 days falling in winter were not considered important as the calendar was supposed to support farming activities. Thus the annual calendar ran from March till December (Can I campaign for it to be reactivated as working then would be brilliant).

Approximately 2700 years ago Numa Pompilius, a Roman King added January and February to the calendar. Even then the calendar had only 355 days due to each of the months were taken as a lunar cycle. A new month had to be added to put the back the year on track. So King Numa added a month called Mercedinus or month 11 which lost favour almost as quickly as it had been arrived at.

Then a small problem arose when the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar added a day to the month on his name, called July, totaling 31 days. Later, Augustus Emperor also wanted the month on his name to be increased with 1 day to have 31 days. These two days were removed from the last month of the year, at that time being February, as the calendar was from March to February according to King Numa.

February is the second month in the civil calendar of the Romans, while it is the last month in the religious calendar of Rome.

And there you have the historic beginnings of February.. all I can tell you is the days or rather evenings are getting longer and now hopefully the mornings will start to follow the same pattern.

1 comment:

Annette said...

Thankyou, I find this fascinating.
I love to know how things happen by that I mean how did the year come into being in the first place and why are the months named.I knew it was something to do with the Romans.
I have heard from someone, somewhere, that christmas day should be in July as thats when his birthday really is, I heard that years ago, but they changed it to fit in with our year.
Don't know whether that true but I do remember someone on telly saying it!