What month is the shortest?
The shortest-longest month of the year
There are many reasons to hate February. The Romans thought so little of it, they originally left it off the calendar. In 700 BC, though, they added January and February, so that the year would match the length of one trip around the sun. Both months were 28 days long but January somehow gained three more. Twenty-eight days, however, was more than enough for February. It was named for “Februa” a festival of purification that involved ritual washing. Nowadays, when we come in from the cold, we still do plenty of ritual washing.
Julius Caesar started Leap Year, also to keep the calendar accurate. Why add a day to the month we least want lengthened? Wouldn’t July 32nd have made more sense? Well, the Romans were superstitious about numbers and thought even numbers brought bad luck.
February isn’t only our most miserable month, it’s difficult to spell. That’s because no one pronounces the first “r.” I was training an assistant and the first question she asked was, “How do you spell February?” I can’t blame her. If I didn’t write for the Review, I’d still be struggling with that word.
February includes Groundhog Day, the silliest holiday we celebrate. Punxsutawney Phil is as poor as Phil Connors at predicting weather. The weathercaster failed to predict the blizzard that stranded him in Pennsylvania, while the rodent-caster is right only 37% of the time about the arrival of spring. Plus, Forest Park has been slammed twice on Groundhog Day with record snowfall. On Feb. 2, 2011, a blizzard dumped 21.2 inches of snow.
Exactly four years later, we dug out from 19.3 inches of white stuff. My college students braved this blizzard to attend services at Living Word. Like most college kids, they loved going to church on Sunday mornings. They also took Black History Month seriously.
Why was our shortest, gloomiest month chosen for Black History? Because February contains the birthdays of the “Great Emancipator,” Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist Frederick Douglass. In February 2019, I hosted two events to celebrate Black history. The first was on the North Side and drew three people. I ended up stuck with a whole platter of pastries from Twisted Cookie but found plenty of volunteers to scarf them down.
The second event was on the South Side and drew zero people. This time, I was only stuck with wine, cheese and crackers. The lesson I learned was that Chicagoans don’t leave their homes in February, regardless of Black History Month events and free refreshments.
What February has in history, it lacks in sporting events. After the Super Bowl, February is a sports desert. This year, though, we have the Winter Olympics. Because sportscasters have overused the word “downhill” to describe any aggressive move by a running back or point guard, they are forbidden to use it during the Olympics. This includes the Alpine Events.
February’s one saving grace may be Valentine’s Day. I’ve had many memorable Valentine’s Days but the memories are mostly embarrassing. There was the time I stood up my wife because a lawyer named Dick Valentine kept me overtime. There was the romantic musical we almost missed because Sizzler was serving all-you-can-eat shrimp. But I most remember a Valentine’s Day blizzard that forced me to trudge through snow bearing a red rose and a bottle of wine.
Finally, February has Presidents Day. How did we get this holiday? Did one of our chief executives own a mattress store? How do we celebrate if we didn’t like some former presidents, or dislike the current one?
My final question is, why does the shortest month seem longer than all the rest?
Tagged: february , short month
John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face. More by John Rice
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The Shortest Month of the Year Does Not Lack Fun!
February might be the shortest month of the year, but it is not short in events and awesome national days of fun!
|February||Black History Month|
|FREE Youth February at Seneca Park Zoo|
National Children’s Dental Health Month
American Heart Month
|February 15th||BEETLEJUICE @RBTL|
|February 16th||BEETLEJUICE @RBTL|
|February 17th||BEETLEJUICE @RBTL|
Food Truck Friday in February
Family Fun Night at Mall at Greece Ridge
|February 18th||BEETLEJUICE @RBTL|
|February 19th||BEETLEJUICE @RBTL|
|February 20th||President’s Day |
Love Your Pet Day
|February 21st||Paw Patrol Live|
|February 22nd||Bored Teachers Comedy Tour @ Kodak Center|
Paw Patrol Live
|February 23rd||National Chili Day|
|February 24th||Jurassic Quest|
|February 25th||Jurassic Quest|
|February 26th||Jurassic Quest|
|February 27th||National Polar Bear Day|
|February 28th||Tooth Fairy Day|
How Black History Month Ended Up in the Shortest Month of the Year
It’s time to honor and celebrate black history, culture, and society.
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Although arguments about having the shortest month of the year dedicated to black history bring disagreements, it is important to take the time to thank someone for everything they have done today.
Ah, it’s that time of the year again. It’s time to honor and celebrate black history, culture, and society. When this time of the year comes around, many rush to think about famous historical figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., who stood up for black communities in times of trouble, or Rosa Parks, who positioned herself to be equal with others despite race. With the thoughts of these historical figures comes the question of why society chose February for Black History Month as the shortest month arises.
Black History Month all started with Carter G. Woodson. Woodson was one of the first scholars to study the history of the African diaspora, including African-American history, at Harvard University, The University of Chicago, and Berea College. According to the NAACP, Woodson authored numerous “scholarly books on the positive contributions of Blacks to the development of America,” and also “published many magazine articles analyzing the contributions and role of Black Americans.” He believed in the values of equality and representation, forming bases first in his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi. His message was simple: blacks need to take pride in their heritage and other Americans need to acknowledge it. After years of advocacy for a month dedicated to black history, he made ends meet and started the first celebration and dedication to blacks around America.
Many people say February, the shortest month, was chosen for Black History Month for reasons of prejudice. However, this is not the case.
On February 7, 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be Negro History Week. Historians say Woodson chose this week to dedicate it to life-changing people for the black community because it coincided with the birthdays of Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln. With this establishment, Negro History Week later turned into Black History Month after getting the extremely hard approval of the white supremacy society in the 1930s.
The first celebration of Black History Month took place at Kent State one year later, from January 2 to February 28, 1970. Today, people recognize Carter G. Woodson as the “Father of Black History.”
People should pay their respects to the hard work and dedication of the black race despite the many conflicts of the world. Black leaders and everyday citizens should be acknowledged for their intense work towards society. Although arguments about having the shortest month of the year dedicated to black history bring disagreements, it is important to take the time to thank someone for everything they have done today.