Tuesday, 28 February 2017

30 days hath September…

Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November;
February has twenty eight alone
All the rest have thirty-one
Except in Leap Year, that's the time
When February's Days are twenty-nine.

The words to "Thirty days hath September" (of which there are a number of variants) are still used by many adults to prompt them into recalling how many days there are in each month! It's therefore often referred to as the Days of the Month Rhyme! The origin of the lyrics to "Thirty days hath September" are obscure but use of the word 'hath' suggests it dates back to at least the 16th century.

The composer Rossini was born on 29th February 1792.  As 1800 was not a Leap Year, his second true birthday occurred when he was 12.

But anyone born on the last day of February 1812 in Sweden never had another birthday at all!  In February 1812, as the country wavered between using the Julian and Gregorian calendars the month was allocated 30 days.


  1. Well, I am glad my birthday is on the 22nd of March - that day is never dropped from the calendar, and I get to have proper birthday every year :-)
    When I was a kid, we learned the length of the months by counting them off on the knuckles of our hands. Each knuckle was a "long" month (31 days), each "valley" between two knuckels was a shorter month. The two hands coming together with two knuckles in the middle are July and August, both 31 days long. I found this a very simple method, very easy to remember.

  2. Gracious, then Feb. 30 in Sweden was the rarest birthday ever. Maybe the ancient Roman way of having February 24 twice for a leap year was better, at least as far as brith dates are concerned.

  3. Gee, that is depressing for those born on that day!

  4. There is a Swedish version/translation of that poem as well, I remember it (vaguely) from childhood. (Usually recalling the first two lines is enough.) If I ever heard the 1812 story, I've forgotten! :)

  5. I have always been glad I wasn't born on a leap year. But Rossini looks cheerful enough doesn't he!


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