February comes from the Latin word februum which means purification. In the old Roman calendar the purification ritual called Februa was held on February 15th. February is the second month of the year in the Gregorian calendar. It is the only month with twenty eight days. In a leap year, which occurs every four years, February has twenty nine days.
The birthstone for February is amethyst which is purple quartz. Amethyst was a symbol of royalty in the Middle Ages and it also symbolizes clear-headedness and quick-wittedness.
The flower for the month of February is the iris which is Greek for rainbow. The iris represents faith, wisdom and hope. An alternate flower for February is the violet. It represents faithfulness, modesty and virtue.
Aquarius and Pisces are the astrological signs for February. Birthdays from February 1st through the 18th fall under the sign of Aquarius. For those during February 19th through the 29th their birthdays fall under the sign of Pisces.
- The Supreme Court of the U.S. met for the first time on February 1, 1790.
- Groundhog Day which is celebrated on February 2, came about because of a German superstition. They thought if a hibernating animal cast a shadow on February 2nd that winter would last for another six weeks. If there was no shadow, spring would come early.
- Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth on February 6, 1952.
- On February 8, 1587, Mary, Queen of Scots was executed.
- On February 10, 1962, Astronaut John Glen Jr. became the first American to orbit the earth.
- Sir Frances Drake became the first known Englishman to sail the Pacific. He took sail on February 11, 1578.
- Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809.
- Valentine's Day or Saint Valentine's Day is celebrated on February 14 by many people throughout the world.
- February 29th comes around every four years. It is known as Leap Day.
- The Super Bowl is played on the first Sunday in February. For many years, the Super Bowl has had a very large television audience in the US and it is often the most watched television program of the year. On average, 80 to 90 million Americans are tuned into the Super Bowl at any given moment. That explains why it is one of the largest in-home party days of the year.
- President's Day is celebrated on the third Monday in February.