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Fact Check: This year, February won’t be the last in 823 years

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Claim: This coming February is the last February anyone living now will see. 

Verdict: apart from leap years, the days of the week in February all occur four times each, a pattern that repeats itself much more frequently than “once in a lifetime” or “every 823 years”.

Full Text: Social media users are recycling an old myth about February, claiming it is scarce – “every 823 years” – to see each day of the week appear precisely four times on the calendar, as it did in 2022.  

The claim has circulated in dozens of online posts in Africa, suggesting that the combination of days in February 2022 was a divine occurrence and witnessed only once in a lifetime, or in some cases, every 823 years.

The social media user backed their claim with the calendar of February 2023. 

“This is because this year’s February has the following that happens only once in 823 years. This year, February has: 4 Sundays, 4 Mondays, 4 Tuesdays, 4 Wednesdays, 4 Thursdays, 4 Fridays, and 4 Saturdays.”

A similar claim was made in  2016: “This February cannot come into your life again. Because this year, February has 4 Sundays, 4 Mondays, 4 Tuesdays, 4 Wednesdays, 4 Thursdays, 4 Fridays, and 4 Saturdays- It was not the case as claimed after this check was done.

2016 was a leap year, meaning one day repeated five times, and it was false.

Even before then, other variations of the claim have circulated. A search for “once every 823 years” revealed the claim is a mixture of several myths related to the calendar. 

The social media user said the four of each day are called ‘MiracleIn,’ a team which, according to a user from Georgia, U.S., means “Miracle or by the hand of God.”

Users additionally requested that the above message be sent to at least five people or 5 Groups, and a miracle would happen within four days because unexplainable biblical miracles back it.

Verification: February has 29 days in leap years, one more than usual. Leap years are caused by the revolution of the Earth around the Sun, which naturally takes 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds.

The extra hours after 365 days are compensated with an additional day in February every four years. 

The claim was fact-checked by Latestly and Vishvasnew

For instance, the last leap year was 2020, when February had 29 days. Five of those days were Saturdays, while other days of the week occurred just four times each.

The simple mathematics about this claim that can help you quickly understand is that February has 28 days, and when divided by seven, each week has four days; that is, four Mondays, four Tuesdays, four Wednesdays, four Thursdays, and four Fridays-(28÷7=4).

This occurrence will repeatedly appear as years pass by and not after 823 years, as claimed.

The coming years show that 2024 February, which will be a leap year, will not have 4 of each day, but 2025 and 2026 will have  4 Sundays, 4 Mondays, 4 Tuesdays, 4 Wednesdays, 4 Thursdays, 4 Fridays, and 4 Saturdays.

Conclusion: The claim is false: there is nothing special about February this year as claimed by the social media users; every day of the week appears four times – just as it does in all non-leap years.

By Mark N. Mengonfia- [email protected]

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