Why does February have 28 days?

Everyone knows this is so, but not many people know why.

I recall seeing an ad in which a kid asks his mother, “Why does February have only 28 days?”

The mother shrugs and isn’t able to answer.

That ad gave an impression as though the question the kid had raised was one of nature’s greatest mysteries.

Everyone knows February has only 28 days (except in leap years), but very few people seem to know why.

There are varying explanations, but this is one of them, an interesting one.

It goes back to this guy, whom all of us have heard of.

Retrato de Julio Cรฉsar (26724093101) (cropped).jpg
Julius Caesar

As well as his successor, whom less people seem to have heard of – Augustus Caesar.

Though Augustus was a great King in his own right- it’s not wrong to say that “finding Rome of clay, he left her of marble.”

So, the Romans started with a calendar of around 300 days because winter wasn’t important enough to be counted. When someone finally decided to include winter, the calendar was estimated at 355 days.

Obviously, every year it went further and further off, forcing priests to add leap months simply to keep the calendar on track with the seasons.

Enter Julius Caesar to solve this major embarrassment – yet another of his many achievements that are less renowned, such as the Caesar cipher and the Gallic War commentaries used to teach Latin . With the help of experts, the Julian calendar was created, 365 days long. Months probably alternated with 31 and 30 days; February drew the short straw (29).

A grateful senate named the month of July after Julius.

But Augustus was no less a Caesar than Julius Caesar. And senators, eager to curry favour, named a month after him as well. We call it August.

But August couldn’t have less days than July – that would mean Augustus was less than Julius. So one day had to be added to August – once again, February was the one who had to give up a day.

I always wondered why months alternated from 31 to 30 (excluding February) except when we got to July and August. This isn’t a bad explanation for that.

A year is 365.24 days long though, so over the next sixteen centuries the calendar became slightly skewed. Later on, around the year 1583, Pope Gregory XII came up with the Gregorian calendar which we still use – and the leap year was born, partially restoring February its due. This calendar isn’t perfect, but none of us will notice the error in our lifetimes.

This is just an example of something everyone knows exists, but a lot of people don’t know why it is so.

There’s always a why when we’re dealing with a human creation like the calendar.


vagmi singh

Woah! I feel cheated. I was asked to count knuckles as 31 days and the depressions between them as 30 (28/29). This piece makes better sense to me. Nice write up ๐Ÿ™‚
would love to read something on conspiracy theories too.


Yes, I did that too.
But when you reach the last knuckle, you’re at July.
You start again, beginning from August.
These are the only two consecutive ones with 31 days – July and August, Julius and Augustus.

vagmi singh

Definitely informative. I love such fun facts. There’s another request that I’d like to make. I hope you consider it. In one of your interviews you talked about about the philosophy of stoicism. I always knew about it as I’ve studied literature but never consciously observed it. It was only in 2018 that I started practicing Vipassana (a meditation technique). While reading about stoicism, I felt both shared the same philosophy (almost). It talks about Buddha’s path liberation. Could you share your views? Please! or site the sources.
Thankyou and keep up the good work!


It’s a very deep philosophy, the more I read about it and the more I think about it the more I discover.
I would recommend seeing this page on Amor Fati
That’s the single most powerful idea I’ve seen – the essence of Stoicism, so to say.
Meditations (Marcus Aurelius) is the next, and then Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning.

I don’t think a blog would do justice to it; there’s just too much content and most readers won’t have the patience.
I’m actually working on a book on some of the best ideas that have helped me – almost all are in some way related to stoic thought. Hopefully I’ll be done before joining training.

vagmi singh

Waiting then!
Thankyou for being kind enough to cite the sources. Consider this as a little note of gratitude ๐Ÿ™‚


Even I had used to count knuckles. I did hear about different calenders. But, I didnt knew tge reason.
Thanks for bringing it up.

Gauri Pandey


apoorva singh

waao…thats a nice one.

Nayan Saxena

A good one:)