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2023 February Trivia and History

Name History

Latin: Februarius. Named after Februa, the purification festival.

February: Februus - Etruscan god of death. Februarius (mensis) (Latin for "month of purification (rituals)," it is said to be a Sabine word, the last month of ancient pre-450 BC Roman calendar). It is related to fever.

February is:

Special 2023 February Days:

Special 2023 February Historical Dates:


February was added to the end of the calendar (along with January) in the 8th century B.C. by the Roman King Numa Pompilius, who established the basic Roman calendar. Previously, the calendar had only ten months, March through December (December roughly translates from Latin as "tenth)." The winter months were not counted as the calendar was mostly used for planting cycles. Numa considered the year to have 355 days. Two extra months were added at the end, with February being the shortest month. Several leap days were added to adjust for planting cycles. Later on, Julius Caesar added ten more days making the calendar have 365 days for most years; much closer, but still not exact. It would take more than 1500 years before a much better refinement was made.

The straight dope on why February has only 28 days

Quotes relating to November (yes, I know it is February) ... but said in February

A new poll showed that if the election was held today, people would be confused because it is normally held in November. • Kevin Nealon, Saturday Night Live Alumini

February Puzzle

February is the month that both President Abraham Lincoln and President George Washington were born. Their birthdays have been celebrated individually for many years. Lincoln's birthday is a legal holiday in some states, but only Washington's birthday has been a Federal Holiday (since 1885).* The Uniform Monday Holiday Act (started in 1971),* shifted the Federal holiday to the third Monday, which can occur between the 15th and the 21st inclusive. Even though Lincoln's birthday was never a Federal holiday, his birthday is often included as part of the celebration, further prompted by advertisers. Thus the Federal holiday is often referred to as President's Day/Presidents Day/Presidents' Day, even though it was never part of the official Uniform Monday Holiday Act. Several states have made one of these variants the "official name of the day" to celebrate.

  1. Of the possible days in February for the Federal Holiday (15th-21st), which day was Abraham Lincoln born on?
  2. Of the possible days in February for the Federal Holiday (15th-21st), which day was George Washington born on?
  3. Since both (Abraham Lincoln and George Washington) were born in February, which one was born on an earlier date (smaller day number)?

If you picked any date within the range of 15-21 for either of the first two, then you were wrong. Neither were born on any of the dates (15-21). Also, William Henry Harrison and Ronald Reagan were born in February, but neither were born within the range of 15-21.

If you chose Abraham Lincoln to have the smaller date number, again you would be wrong. You may ask, "But wasn't George Washington born on the 22nd of February?" We will soon learn the true date; read on!

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809. George Washington was born nearly a hundred years earlier at his family's Pope's Creek Estate near Colonial Beach in Westmoreland County in Virginia, but that isn't the trick here (not an earlier year). The question is which has a smaller February day number? Think of it this way: if on the day of the birth of George Washington, a local daily newspaper mentioned his birth, what would be the date at the top of the newspaper, specifically the day number, and also what would the year be? Do you know? Granted, a local newspaper learning of the birth and reporting it on the same day could be a far stretch from what would be possible. So rather than what date the newspaper would have on their headline, what date would they report (in local birth news) as the birth date of George Washington?

If your answer is February 22nd, 1732, you are wrong on two counts. George Washington was NOT born on February 22nd, and he wasn't born in 1732. Regardless, you will see many references stating that George Washington was born on February 22nd, 1732. To make matters worse, the year is actually incorrect as well.

George Washington was born on a day number smaller than Abraham Lincoln. Don't believe that? Here is why: The local paper would have the date of George Washington's birth as February 11, 1731. Notice the year is not even 1732 as most would commonly use today. How is this possible? It isn't because they couldn't keep track of the dates. Move your mouse over the asterisk at the end of this sentence for the answer (if a portion of the text is hidden off of the side of the page, you may need to adjust the size of the browser window to force the browser to wrap the text so that the hover text is all visible):*

Another example that could happen

Check out trivia for other months.

January • February • March • April • May • June • July • August • September • October • November • December

or see the calendar for any month:

January • February • March • April • May • June • July • August • September • October • November • December

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