Results 1 to 28 of 28

Thread: Why the short month?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    1,766

    Why the short month?

    If I were making a calendar I think I would try to make the months even...30 or 31 days. But February has 28/29. Why? You might think the Earth is at Perihelion then, but as we learned on another thread, that occurs in early January.
    How did February get cheated out of two days?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Central Florida.
    Posts
    5,677
    The length of the months did follow a pattern of sorts early on. However, people with authority couldn't resist messing with it.

    Augustus Caesar took a day from February and added it onto "August," so that the month recently named for him would have as many days as did the month (July) named for his Uncle Julius.

    However, February already had only 29 days as it were for some other reason that I can't recall.


    Edit: See comments that follow. I am guilty of repeating hearsay, it would seem!
    Last edited by DonM435; 2017-Dec-21 at 07:31 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Clear Lake City, TX
    Posts
    12,233
    Weeeeellll ...

    The Romans started out with a lunar calendar of ten months, which is why the last month is called December ... there were no official months between it and March, the start of the new year. They later added two months in that gap but still had problems syncing the lunar calendar with the sun's cycle, so every so often they added an extra month.

    Julius Ceaser decided to change to an actual solar calendar, adding ten days to the old one. February had 28 days from the start, plus the one day added every leap year.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_a...2/28_days.html
    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by ignorance or stupidity.
    Isaac Asimov

    You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They dont alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views.
    Doctor Who

    Moderation will be in purple.
    Rules for Posting to This Board

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Central Florida.
    Posts
    5,677
    I heard that story about Augustus stealing a day quite long ago. So history has cleared him of the charge?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Norfolk UK and some of me is in Northern France
    Posts
    7,991
    No he really did it. The French Revolution tried a whole new calendar but it didn't catch on. Poor old February trapped between Janus and Mars! They both wanted their 31. Of course 12 times 30 and 12 times 31 are both wrong for the year and they kind of knew that.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    16,973
    Quote Originally Posted by DonM435 View Post
    I heard that story about Augustus stealing a day quite long ago. So history has cleared him of the charge?
    The story seems to have originated entirely with Johannes de Sacrobosco, a 13th century writer - no-one else ever claimed such a thing, but Sacrobosco's story seemed to be truthy enough for people to keep passing it on, down to the present day.
    In fact, we have evidence that Sextilis was switched to 31 days as part of the Julian reforms of 45BC, when Augustus was still just a teenager called Gaius Octavius.

    Grant Hutchison
    Blog

    Note:
    During life, we all develop attitudes and strategies to make our interactions with others more pleasant and useful. If I mention mine here, those comments can apply only to myself, my experiences and my situation. Such remarks cannot and should not be construed as dismissing, denigrating, devaluing or criticizing any different attitudes and strategies that other people have evolved as a result of their different situation and different experiences.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    1,766
    So the calendar was once even more messed up than it is now! Cool.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    8,116
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    So the calendar was once even more messed up than it is now! Cool.
    O man, what we had to put up with when I was a kid!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    The Great NorthWet
    Posts
    13,749
    I'm a fan of the Shire Calendar. 12 months of 30 days. Five or six holidays that don't belong to a month. I'd change it by having six day weeks, however.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    The beautiful north coast (Ohio)
    Posts
    48,144
    I like winter, but by February I'm kind of sick of it, and am ready to move on to spring, so I'm glad February is a short month... we get through it that much faster.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

    All moderation in purple - The rules

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    British Columbia
    Posts
    2,823
    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I like winter, but by February I'm kind of sick of it, and am ready to move on to spring, so I'm glad February is a short month... we get through it that much faster.
    I agree there is something in the 28/29 days that make February bearable.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Central Florida.
    Posts
    5,677
    As one wise man said, "Why do we add a February 29 in leap years? Why not add July 32 and have an extra day of good weather?

    Or maybe I should have said "one wise guy"?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    60
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    If I were making a calendar I think I would try to make the months even...30 or 31 days. But February has 28/29. Why? You might think the Earth is at Perihelion then, but as we learned on another thread, that occurs in early January.
    How did February get cheated out of two days?
    Lunar calendars have the advantage of helping with planting and fishing. (29/30 days) Problem is they fall behind the solar cycle by 11 days per year. So, the best-of-both-worlds calendars are luni-solar. Instead of a skinny February, they have a 13th month every 3 years.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    The Valley of the Sun
    Posts
    9,038
    We should get rid of weeks and months. Just number the days of each year, starting a new year at each winter solstice.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    13,068
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    We should get rid of weeks and months. Just number the days of each year, starting a new year at each winter solstice.
    Why dont we get rid of days, hours, and minutes as well, and just count by the number of seconds that have elapsed since the new year.
    As above, so below

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    The Valley of the Sun
    Posts
    9,038
    It would be hard to get the earth to stop rotating. People would notice that we still had days.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    10,153
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    It would be hard to get the earth to stop rotating. People would notice that we still had days.
    The Moon would likely continue rotation, so months would likely come back. On the other hand, without weekends wed have no more of that silly five day work week and human resources whining about working on weekends.

    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

    How do things fly? This explains it all.

    Actually they can't: "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    The Valley of the Sun
    Posts
    9,038
    Our current months don't follow the phases of the moon. I don't think that something we're not using now would be missed.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    The beautiful north coast (Ohio)
    Posts
    48,144
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    We should get rid of weeks and months. Just number the days of each year, starting a new year at each winter solstice.
    Factories and other production facilities that run 24/7 do this already. At our plant in Texas, today is 17358, at least on all the process data.

    But for most human activities there is no chance this will happen; people are too used to and are entirely fine with the current system.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

    All moderation in purple - The rules

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Falls Church, VA (near Washington, DC)
    Posts
    8,305
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyberseeker View Post
    Lunar calendars have the advantage of helping with planting and fishing. (29/30 days) Problem is they fall behind the solar cycle by 11 days per year. So, the best-of-both-worlds calendars are luni-solar. Instead of a skinny February, they have a 13th month every 3 years.
    I can imagine that the lunar cycle could be important for fishing in tidal waters, where there is a spring and neap tide cycle. Otherwise I don't see any great physical importance. Optimum planting times for farmers are purely solar seasonal, as far as I can see.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    British Columbia
    Posts
    2,823
    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    I can imagine that the lunar cycle could be important for fishing in tidal waters, where there is a spring and neap tide cycle. Otherwise I don't see any great physical importance.
    Yes, I once spent a few weeks in a native village while doing a project on BC's north coast. The locals took advantage of a very low tide to get access to a particular species of clam, IIRC. The tidal range in those inlets is more than 20 feet, and the spring tides may be especially extreme.

    Optimum planting times for farmers are purely solar seasonal, as far as I can see.
    I think so too. A few years ago clop was asking for opinions about the practice of using the lunar cycle to determine crop planting times. I argued that where I live we have an average of 53 frost free days per year. Waiting for a particular phase of the moon could waste much of that short season.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    13,068
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    It would be hard to get the earth to stop rotating. People would notice that we still had days.
    Sorry, I didn't put a smiley. I wasn't suggesting it seriously, but thought that you were joking about eliminating months. But I understand now it was a serious proposal. So to respond honestly, I don't really see what's broken about the current system, and it seems easier for me to imagine things coming in a week or two months than in 30 or 60 days. I can remember, for example, that the next AAAS annual meeting is February 15 to 19, but I'm not sure if it would be easy to remember it's from day 45 to 49 or whatever it would be.
    As above, so below

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    The Valley of the Sun
    Posts
    9,038
    I was semijoking. I think it would work but don't expect it to be taken seriously.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    The Valley of the Sun
    Posts
    9,038
    We could make all years the same length, 365.2425 days, and all months the same length, 30.436875 days. There's no reason that a new year or a new month has to start at the beginning of a new day.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    8,116
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    We could make all years the same length, 365.2425 days, and all months the same length, 30.436875 days. There's no reason that a new year or a new month has to start at the beginning of a new day.
    And then no reason for time zones really.

    "What about international travel and commerce?"

    "There'd be an app for that."

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    The Valley of the Sun
    Posts
    9,038
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    We should get rid of weeks and months. Just number the days of each year, starting a new year at each winter solstice.
    The best thing about this plan is, no more tedious pi days.

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Posts
    8,691
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    The best thing about this plan is, no more tedious pi days.
    There would be a day 314...
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Central Florida.
    Posts
    5,677
    "Man, I hate these days whose number when divided by seven give a remainder of one! Five whole days until that day when divided by seven gives a remainder of six and I can go fishing!"

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •