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Why Does February Have 28 Days?


Why Does February Have 28 Days?

Did you know that February’s 28 days date back to the second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius? Prior to his reign as king, Rome’s lunar calendar had only 10 months. It began in March and ended in December. It was though that the time between December and March was of little importance because it had nothing to do with the harvest.

When Numa became king, he decided to make the calendar more accurate by aligning it with the moon’s 12 lunar cycles. The new timeline needed two additional months to make up for lost time, so January and February were added to the calendar. Because Romans believed that even numbers were unlucky all of the months had uneven numbers to create a 355-day calendar; except for February which had 28 in order to make a 355 day calendar possible. Because of this February was designated as an unlucky month.

Since 1582 we have abided by the Gregorian calendar. In order to keep our calendar aligned with the astronomical seasons an extra day is added to February every four years. Since a year according to the Gregorian calendar is 365 days and a year according to the Earth’s calendar is 365.25 days. Adding a day every four years helps to make up for lost time.