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The Last Day in February

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Hey, Camp Folks!

Question for ya: What’s tomorrow? The first of March has a tendency to sneak up on folks, since February is always cut short two—but more often three days. So what happens to February 29 during Non-Leap years? And why is February the only month to come in at under 30 days? Let’s take a look into the matter.

It was the second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius, who tacked on two months to the calendar that would follow the month of December. The names of certain months give the calendar away as originally having just ten months. October, for example, is the tenth month, but octo means eight. It’s the same story with December—it’s the twelfth month though deca means ten.

February 30th
Along with the names of the months, the calendar got messed up in other ways thanks to the addition of these two added months, like the amount of days allotted to each month. There is record from a 13th century historian that claims there was a 37-year period in which February saw 30 days during leap years, but that was using the Julian calendar and not the Gregorian (which we use today).

Sweden Time
In the early 1700s, Sweden reverted back and forth between the Julian and Gregorian calendars which led to years that were observed as leap years because of errors. These error years left Sweden out of sync with the Julian calendar as well as the Gregorian. In 1712, they went back to the Julian calendar, adding two leap days to that year to make it work. Eventually, in 1753, they finally joined the rest of the world, returning to the Gregorian calendar by removing 11 days from the year so that February 17 was followed by March 1. Swedes were rather upset with the management, complaining 11 days of their lives were stolen.

USSR Holidays
The Soviet Union introduced a calendar in 1929 that tried to revolutionize the calendar year. Their calendar proposed five-day weeks—meant for industrial efficiency, eliminating the typical non-work days of Saturday and Sunday. Their calendar provided 30-day months consistently through the year aside from five or six days leftover that were left as “holidays” that belonged to no month. This calendar was used from 1930-1931.

It seems that a consistent calendar is pretty much impossible to create since leap days required to fill in the gaps of our year every four years. Time’s a tricky thing. Especially if your birthday is on March 29! Anyway, till next time, Camp Fans! And, as always, thanks for reading!


- John


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