Why is February such a short month?

Julius Caesar

We all know that February is the shortest month of the year with either 28 days or 29 in a leap year – but why is this the case when other months have 30 or 31 days?

Thirty days have November,
April, June, and September.
February has 28 alone,
And all the rest have 31.

Well, it’s just one of the things that the Romans did for us!

February was established as a 28-day month by the second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius.

Prior to this, there were only 10 months in the Roman calendar. January and February didn’t exist in the year’s calendar – it was felt that they were unimportant because they didn’t produce any harvest.

Pompilius decided to create a calendar that was more in sync with the 12 lunar months and added January and February.

The lunar cycle contains 354.3 days, but this was rounded to 355 as Romans believed that even numbers were unlucky. Because of this superstition, every month had 29 or 31 days.

However, to add up to 355 days in one year there had to be an unlucky even-numbered month – February. This was probably just because it was the last month of the year. In those days the start of the new year was 1 March, not 1 January.

There were only 355 days of the year until the time of Julius Caesar

The Julian Calendar based on the solar calendar added slightly more than 10 days to each year, making each month either 30 or 31 days long, with the exception of February.

However, there was still the issue of a partial day left over, therefore every four years the days were rounded up to 29 – the reason for the leap year!

Find out more about leap years here! 


I look after communications and marketing at Dairy Diary. I’m a busy mum and love home baking and cooking for my family. In my spare time I enjoy visiting the theatre, eating out with friends and exploring the great outdoors!

Leave a Reply

Dairy Diary
Close Cookmode