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Although February 2015 might fit perfectly on the page, every year it's the runt of the monthly litter.
This deficit of days, this calendar craziness, this oddity of the annum, like so much of modern culture, is the Romans' fault.
Here's the crazy story of why February has 28 days… except when it doesn't.
Romulus, the maybe-mythical, maybe-real founder and first king of Rome, had a problem.
With an increasing number of festivals, feasts, military ceremonies, and religious celebrations to keep track of,
Romans needed a calendar to organize all of them.
Ancient astronomers already had accurate calculations for the time between two solar equinoxes or solstices,
but nature had given people a nice, easy pie chart in the sky to track the passage of time,
so early Rome, like many other cultures, worked off a lunar calendar.
The calendar of the Romulan republic had ten months of either 30 or 31 days, beginning in March and ending in December,
and we can still see traces of that calendar today.
Problem was, that year was a few days short of four seasons.
Romans were too busy not dying during winter to count those 61 and a quarter extra days…
they'd just start the next year on the new moon before the spring equinox.
It's actually not a bad system, as long as you don’t have to figure out what day it is between December and March.
So the second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius, tried something else.
Even numbers were bad luck in Ancient Rome, so Numa started by removing a day from all the even-numbered months.
And being loony for Luna, Numa wanted his calendar to cover 12 cycles of the moon,
but that would have been an even number, so he rounded his year up to 355.
Numa split the remaining days into two months and tacked them on to the end of the year.
And that's how February got 28 days. Yes, it's an even number, but since the month was dedicated to spiritual purification,
Romans let that one slide.
But, as powerful as Rome may have been, they couldn't change the rules of the universe,
and neither of these calendars add up to anywhere close to the time it takes us to orbit the sun.
After a few years, the seasons are out of whack with the months, dogs and cats, living together, mass hysteria!!
Did we already use that joke?
This is where it gets even weirder.
See, February was actually split in two parts. The first 23 days and… the rest.
Every year, Numa's superstitious calendar would be out of line with the seasons by a little more than 10 days.
So every other year, the last few days of February were ignored
and a 27-day leap month was added after February 23rd or 24th.
This way every four years would average out to 366 and a quarter days… which is still too many days, but we're getting there.
Confused? You should be. Numa!
This system could have worked, every 19 years, lunar and solar calendars tend to line up,
so add enough leap months to keep the seasons in order and eventually everything will reset itself.
Except those leap months weren't always added according to plan.
Politicians would ask for leap months to extend their terms,
or “forget” them to get their opponents out of office.
And if Rome was at war, sometimes the leap month would be forgotten for years,
by the time Julius Caesar came to power, things had gotten pretty confusing.
Caesar had spent a lot of time in Egypt, where 365-day calendars were all the rage,
so in 46 BC, he flushed Rome's lunar calendar down the aqueduct and installed a solar calendar.
January and February had already been moved to the beginning of the year,
and Caesar added 10 days to different months to get a total of 365.
And since a tropical year is a tad longer than 365 days, Julius added a leap day every four years,
except that they inserted it after February 23, right in the middle of the month.
Apparently February is just the trash heap of the calendar, just do whatever feels good.
For all their work to reform the calendar and other stuff they did,
the 7th and 8th months of the year were renamed for Julius and his successor Augustus Caesar,
despite the fact that Pope Gregory would have to adjust it again in 1500 years.
But that's a story for a different day. Or month. I don't even know anymore. Stay curious. Thankfully, we have vaccines, which are made of tiny pieces or
weakened versions of viruses or bacteria. They let our immune system see what the bad guys look like,
and recruit those all-important memory cells before we ever have to actually see the real enemy.



到底為什麼 2 月只有 28 天呢?Why Does February Only Have 28 Days? (Why Does February Only Have 28 Days?)

63585 分類 收藏
Ashley Chen 發佈於 2018 年 2 月 18 日   陳美瑩 翻譯   Kristi Yang 審核


不知道有沒有人跟小 V 一樣很好奇到底為什麼 2 月通常都只有 28 天呢?讓我們一起透過今天的主編精選,來看看 2 月到底為什麼這麼特別吧!

1keep track of something0:42
keep track of something 的意思是「了解...的動態 / 線索、記錄」的意思。track 這個名詞本身的意思是「行蹤、軌道」。
I keep track of my daily expenses to make sure I don't exceed my budget.

Our boss holds weekly meetings to keep track of our progress.

反義用法為 lose track of something,指的是「失去...的線索」。
I was so engrossed in the novel that I lost track of time.

你的心是否也住著一隻黑狗?牠名叫憂鬱 (I Had A Black Dog: His Name was Depression)

2let something slide2:06
let something slide 指的是「不管...(東西)」,用來表達某事應該要改變或是被糾正,但卻不打算做任何事情、放任它的意思。
I knew he's not telling the whole story, but I decided to let it slide.

slide 這個動詞本身則有蠻多意思的,包含:「滑動、不知不覺陷入、悄悄的走」等。要注意它的動詞變化型態是: slide / slid / slid
Tina slid down the hill into the pond.
After the breakup, she started to slide back into her old habit of binge drinking.

Tommy slid out of the classroom quietly.

3out of line with2:36
out of line with 是「不成一直線、與...不一致」的意思。
His proposal is out of line with reality. With our tight budget, it's not realistic.

out of line 也可以拿來形容一個人的行為或發言「不得體、不成體統」。
Tom's behavior at the formal party was so out of line. Not only did he chat loudly, he also hit on most of the girls in the room.

這邊小 V 補充一些跟 line 的片語跟用法!

bottom line 底線、結果
I don't care how much time you spend scrolling Facebook. The bottom line is that you have to finish all your work.

along the lines of 類似、相似
I want a painting along the lines of the one that I saw at the gallery last week.

fall into line 和~統一立場、步調一致
After all the chaos that we've experienced, everything is finally starting to fall into line.

cross the line 越線、做的太過份
His jokes crossed the line. Emily looks like she's about to cry.

4all the rage3:37
all the rage 是「盛行」的意思。
Instagram is all the rage these days.
現在 Instagram 非常盛行。

in vogueall the rage 有相似的意思,代表「盛行、正在流行」。
Denim items are in vogue right now in Taiwan.

rage 這個名詞本身則是「憤怒、狂熱」的意思。
His face turned purple with rage when Jason showed up late to the meeting again.

【生活英文】零卡食物真的完全沒熱量嗎?怎麼可能! (How Can Something Have Zero Calories?)

a tad 的意思就是 slightly「有一點、稍微」的意思。所以影片中的 a tad longer 意思就是「有一點點長」。
This pot of soup needs a tad more salt.

tad 也可以拿來指「小男孩、小孩子」。
George is just a tad. Don't put too much pressure on him.

看完今天的主編精選,有沒有終於了解了二月只有二十八天的曲折故事呢?小 V 非常慶幸不是生在那個年代,可以直接有已經穩定的日期計算方式。下次再跟著小 V 們一起長知識學英文吧!

文/ Christine
編輯/ Jenny Hsu




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