Monday, February 28, 2011

In Defence of February

Whilst I have no intention of making this a monthly feature, I do feel, for a second month running the need to defend the said period of time against unfair criticism. February is one of the most maligned months in the calender. As if it isn't bad enough that it has fewer days than any other month, it is frequently derided as being the 'dullest month' as, allegedly, nothing ever happens in February. Now, I know that I'm biased, as my birthday is in February, I really do think that such accusations are completely unfounded. Let's just look at the facts - these days February has become the awards season, with Brits, Grammys, BAFTAs and Oscars (to mention only a few) having their ceremonies during the course of the month. OK, I know that these things are really little more than attempts by the recording and film industries to boost sales during the traditionally quiet post-Christmas season, and that there's something faintly nauseating at the sight of all those over paid celebrities slapping themselves on the back, but it's more than March can boast.

But if you don't like awards, then there's the League Cup Final, the first major trophy of the English football season. Not to mention the Superbowl across the pond, and the Six Nations for rugby fans. Nothing ever happens in February, eh? I think not. The truth is that there are too many people out there who simply want to dismiss February because they find it inconvenient - it stands between them and Spring, and it's short length makes them think it isn't a 'real' month. Well, it is a real bloody month. Indeed, in the Roman calender it was actually the last month of the year, hence its odd length and the fact that, during leap years, it is the month that receives the extra day. Clearly, it makes sense to alter the length of the last month of the year rather than one that comes part way through the year. However, when the Gregorian calendar superseded the Julian calendar, one of the changes was that the calendar year was harmonised with the ceremonial year, with January becoming not just the point at which New Year was officially celebrated (as the Romans did), but also the first month of the year. Leaving February in its current strange position. So there you have it - February shouldn't be reviled. In fact, we should be celebrating as, according to the Romans, it's the end of the year!



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