A widely believed — but possibly erroneous — story has it that February is so short because the Romans borrowed a day from it to add to August. August was originally a 30-day month called Sextilis, but it was renamed to honor the emperor Augustus Caesar, just as July had earlier been renamed to honor Julius Caesar. Naturally, it wouldn't do to have Gus's month be shorter than Julius's, hence the switch.
But some historians say this is bunk. They say February has always had 28 days, going back to the 8th century BC, when a Roman king by the name of Numa Pompilius established the basic Roman calendar. Before Numa was on the job the calendar covered only ten months, March through December. December, as you may know, roughly translates from Latin as "tenth." July was originally called Quintilis, "fifth," Sextilis was sixth, September was seventh, and so on.But Numa needed one short, even-numbered month to make the number of days work out to 355. February got elected. It was the last month of the year (January didn't become the first month until centuries later), it was in the middle of winter, and presumably, if there had to be an unlucky month, better to make it a short one.
Many years later, Julius Caesar reorganized the calendar yet again, giving it 365 days. Some say he made February 29 days long, 30 in leap year, and that Augustus Caesar later pilfered a day; others say Julius just kept it at 28. None of this changes the underlying truth: February is so short mainly because it was the month nobody liked much — a judgment with which I heartily concur. Frankly, if the Romans had cut it down to 15 minutes, it wouldn't have bothered me a bit.