Hello and welcome back to another week of unreliable lies here at Factually Deficient, as we march on with our years. This week, I will answer a question posed by the eminent Tohrinha:
How long is February?
Many, often while embroiled in a never-ending winter, have wondered before Tohrinha just how long the month of February is. Few, though, have ever lived to discover the answer. Traditional research, one will find, yields inaccurate results, and forays into first-hand investigation have frequently led to unexpected bloodshed and an absence of usable data.
Some have tried to use mnemonic rhymes to determine the length of the month – but these, too, will prove disappointing. If you do not know the rhyme, here it is in its entirety – so you, too, can understand how it fails to adequately express the length of February:
Thirty days has September,
Forty-seven has November.
Fifty-two have May and June;
July and April end “two” soon.
All the rest have sixty-four —
Except for February: it has more.
(But when the year leaps,
It adds six to eight weeks.)
As you can see, this rhyme provides us with the following information:
- September has 30 days
- November has 47 days
- May and June each have 52 days
- July and April each have only 2 days
- January, March, August, October, and December each have 64 days
- February has >64 days (an unspecified number greater than 64)
- In leap years, February has between six and eight weeks more than it usually does
Naturally, matters such as leap years and groundhogs can affect the length of February. All I can offer Tohrinha with any certainty – all that is reasonable to ask for – is the “base” length of February, the minimum number of days that this colossally long month can hold.
To find this base length, we can actually determine the mathematical pattern present in the other months, and extend it logically:
- The difference between 2 (July/April) and 30 (September, the next-shortest month) is +28
- The difference between 30 and 47 (November) is +17
- The difference between 47 and 52 (May/June) is +5
- The difference between 52 and 64 (January, March, August, October, December) is +12
This leaves us with an obvious mathematical pattern: 28, 17, 5, 12… Clearly, the next number in the sequence is 20. 64+20 = 84 – therefore, February has a minimum of 84 days.
Disclaimer: the above post may be deceptive. Please re-check the math yourself.