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Facts about February

February is most well-known for being the month of Valentine's Day!
February is most well-known for being the month of Valentine's Day!
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

February is the second month of the year. It has 28 days (29 on “leap years”) and its birthstone is the purple amethyst. People who are both between February 1st and 19th are considered to fall under the zodiac sign of Aquarius (the Water Bearer) while those born between February 20th and 28th or 29th are deemed Pisces (the Fish).

February can be the snowiest month of all!
February can be the snowiest month of all!
Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

The name “February” comes from the Latin word “februa” which means “cleansing.” This is interesting because, in ancient times, there as a Roman god of purification called Februus and this it very likely the origin of the term.

February in North America is known to be a very cold and snowy winter month. Numerous blizzards have been reported during February and so it also a prime time to build snowmen and snow angels. Every four years the Olympic Winter Games are held in February and include cold-weather sports like ice skating, skiing, snowboarding and sledding.

Yet February is probably most famous for the Valentine’s Day holiday that is celebrated in North America and several other countries around the world (most notably European ones). Valentine’s Day is a time for sharing cards, candy, and small presents with your significant other—although cards can also be exchanged among family members. Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love, but not necessarily romantic love. However, February’s association with Valentine’s Day links the holiday to the Roman goddess of love, Venus, and her arrow-shooting cherub son, Cupid. Along with hearts, lips and roses, these two figures are frequently depicted on decorations around homes and stores every February.

February is also the month most affected by Leap Years. Leap Years occur every four years and they result in having 366 days in a year, not 365. Hence, some people who are born on February 29th have to wait four years to celebrate their “exact” birthday. February is also the month—along with January—that is frequently the time that the Chinese celebrate Lunar New Year which is the most important holiday in China.