Hello February

posted in: My Corner | 0

It’s February!!! So, why three exclamation marks? I happen to be quite fond of the month. So much uniqueness in February. Not only is it the month of my birth, it’s the only month that has a mere 28 days, and then, get this, one additional every four years. Wow! I’m in awe of February.

You may also know that February is National Black History Month, International Vegan Cuisine Month, American Heart Month, LGBT+ History Month and for my fellow bibliophiles, National Library Lover’s Month. That’s just a few of the things that are going on in February.

Here are some other fun facts about February:

  • The word February comes from the Latin word for purification, so named for the purification ritual that was held on February 15 on the old lunar Roman calendar.
  • February was a late arrival to the calendar along with January. The Romans didn’t really mark winter, but that was changed around 700 BCE so that the calendar year coincided with the Earth year.
  • Because February only has 28 days in common years, it is the only month that may not have a new moon or full moon. The last time that happened was in 2014 and 2018 and respectively, and it won’t happen again until 2033 and 2037 – be sure to mark your calendars.
  • For us Februarians our birth flowers are the violet, the common primrose and the Iris. Our birthstone is the amethyst which is the symbol for piety, humility, spiritual wisdom and sincerity.

Leap Day is a whole topic on it’s own. Most of us know that Leap Day comes around every four years to make up for the slightly longer than 365 calendar days (roughly 365.2421) that a common year has. And did you know that Julius Caesar was the first to introduce an additional day in February? There are several traditions, folklore and superstitions around Leap Day. One somewhat well-known tradition is that women propose marriage to their boyfriends, instead of vice versa, a practice that goes back to the days when women were outlawed from doing so.

Leaplings, people born on February 29th, belong to a very elite group – the odds are about 1 in 1461. Along with my nephew, a handful of famous people were born on February 29th, including motivational speaker Tony Robbins, the late actress and singer Dinah Shore, and the man of steel Superman. Who do you know that shares that birthday?

And then there’s Valentine’s Day. It may surprise you to know that the origins of this sweet holiday were quite dark and violent, thought to have begun in ancient Rome, when a bunch of drunk and naked Roman men sacrificed a goat or two then whipped women with the hides. Whew, and we thought our society was in trouble! In their twisted, drunken, naked minds, they thought this would somehow make the women fertile. There’s more to it, but I’ll spare you any more details. The name, of course, is provided again by ancient Romans who executed two men, both named Valentine, on February 14 of different years. The men became martyrs in the Catholic Church with a celebration of St. Valentine’s Day.

Over the years the holiday morphed into a day of fertility and love, and both Chaucer and Shakespeare romanticized it in their work. It gained in popularity during the Middle Ages.

The rest we can blame on big business and savvy marketers. Today more than $20 billion dollars are spent here in the U.S., mostly on candy, cards, flowers and an evening out.

The commercialization of Valentine’s Day aside, who else is ready to declare February, the Month of Love? And I’m talking love in all forms including self-love; the love between a parent and child; the love that makes you say “love you” as you depart from a friend; the love of your furry, scaled and winged friends; the love of spending the day in nature; the love of a perfect cup of tea along side some homemade goodies; and the love between romantic partners.

Funny thing, this post did not start out to be an essay on the month of February, but February is just so unique and fun! This post was supposed to be about Lovingkindness meditation. Lovingkindness meditation is something that is a part of my morning meditation almost every day and has the power to create more compassion and peace in the world. It’s my favorite for that very reason. So consider this an intro to the next article when I explain lovingkindness meditation in greater detail.

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