Every year, February reminds me of a few things: Valentine’s Day, Black History Month, and that it’s a freakishly short month. Let’s go in order…
Upon a Google search, I discovered the true origins of Valentine’s Day, which has since magically morphed into a very stressful and commercialized holiday based on the maybe-true legend of Saint Valentine, whose story is now very convoluted. It started out as a pagan holiday where men spanked women to try to increase their fertility…if you’re thinking that this is the stupidest logic you’ve ever heard, I’m right there with you. However, this year I heard about something that is the opposite of stupid: a judge in Texas now refuses to marry heterosexual couples until she is legally allowed to marry ALL couples. Judge Tonya Parker happens to be a lesbian, but I don’t think that should be the main takeaway here. She just wants the law to be applied equally to everyone, including herself. I applaud her.
Since 1976, American presidents have made February Black History Month. It stemmed from an organization, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, designating a week in February as “Negro History” week around the time of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays. The two men actually knew each other and were the same height, both standing at 6’4”. After Douglass returned from Ireland, where he went for refuge after escaping slavery, he married a white woman, which was very scandalous at the time, but was also very progressive. Another fun fact: Douglass records his birthday as February 14, 1816ish (Valentine’s Day!).
Now, for Leap Year. Once every four years, we give February an extra day, February 29, because we would be about 6 hours off our calendar if we didn’t. It takes Earth a little extra time to circle the sun, so Julius Caeser gave it a day to catch up. Caeser obviously didn’t consider the poor little babies born on February 29’s who would have only a quarter as many birthdays as other kids. Computers, probably in solidarity with the aforementioned babies, refuse to recognize the date, which messes up a lot of excel spread sheets and online profiles that include birthdates. Scientists are talking about getting rid of leap year all together, so enjoy this one!