By the time you read this page January will have been and gone and we are now in the shortest month of the year. Hopefully it will not be long before we see the first signs of spring and February’s flower is the primrose.
On the 2nd February it is Candlemas Day. This ancient festival marks the midpoint of winter, halfway between the shortest day and the spring equinox. In olden times, many people used to say that the Christmas season lasted for forty days – until the second of February. It was the day of the year when all the candles, that were going to be used in the church during the coming year, were brought into church and a blessing was said over them – so it was the Festival Day of the Candles.
Candles were important in those days not only because there was no electricity but some people thought they gave protection against the plague, illness and famine. For Christians, they were (and still are) a reminder of something even more important. Candles are lit during church services to remind us that Jesus is ‘the light of the World’.
On the 14th February it is Valentine’s Day. The Valentine that most experts believe is the actual one remembered on St Valentine’s Day was a Roman who was martyred for refusing to give up Christianity. One tradition which used to occur in Wales was wooden love spoons being carved and given as gifts on February 14th. Hearts, keys and keyholes were favourite decorations on the spoons. The decoration meant, “You unlock my heart!”
On Tuesday 28th February it is Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day). This is the last day before Lent. In Greece, Shrove Tuesday is called Aprocreas, which means “from the meat” since they do not eat meat during Lent either. In Iceland, the day is known as “Sprengidagur”, which means bursting day.
I will leave you all now to think about what you are going to give up or do extra during Lent…
With love, Martha x