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We know this is the month of valentines and chocolatehearts, but would you like to know more about this often blustery month with the fewest days in the modern calendar year?
For hundreds of years the Roman calendar consisted 10 months and of a year of 304 days. Evidently the Romans didn't like winter; they didn’t even keep a calendar during winter months. In order to bring the calendar closer to the lunar cycle, January and February were added in 713 BC. January was added to the beginning and February to the end of the year. February remained the last month of the year until 450 BC when it became the second month. For a couple of hundred years the calendar was crazy, with the inclusion of an interim month and days being 23 to 25 days each. When the Julian calendar was introduced in 45 BC February found a place on the calendar and the leap year was established. A few changes have taken place since but February has had a place on the calendar for over 2000 years!
The month was named after Februus, the god of purification and Februa, a purification festival held on February 15.
February is Black History Month as well as Canned FoodMonth, Creative Romance Month, Great American Pie Month as well as several we won't name here. Here's an interesting fact, the 3rd Week this month is International Flirting Week. Just don't tell my wife, please!
Three big holidays are held in February: Groundhog’s day(2nd), St. Valentine’s Day (14th) and President’s day (3rd Monday).
Weather prognostication has long had roots this time of year. It has been noted for millennia, that if the weather is fine and frosty at the close of January and the beginning of February, there is more winterahead than behind. The idea of Groundhog Day comes from the comparable European tradition, Candlemas Day. Candlemas is a traditional Christian festival that commemorates the ritual purification of Mary forty days after the birth of her son Jesus. On this day, the clergy would bless candles and hand them out to the people. And on this day, Christians remember the presentation of Jesus Christin the Temple. Forty days after the birth of a Jewish boy, it was the custom to take him to the temple in Jerusalem to be presented to God by his thankful parents.
In pre-Christian times, this day was known as the 'Feast of Lights' and celebrated the increase strength of the life-giving sun as wintergave way to spring.
February 2nd has always been a significant day since it marks the dead of winter. An old English song went a little something like this:
"If Candlemas be fair andbright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again."
History goes that the Roman legions brought the Candlemas tradition to the Germans. They constructed the fun idea that if the sun was out and an animal cast a shadow, there would be six more weeks of winter. The Germans used a hedgehog. When the Germans came to Pennsylvania, they found groundhogs to be similar to the hedgehog used in their tradition. The groundhog was then adopted as the animal who determines the course of the winter season.Today the official groundhog is named Punxsutawney Phil, who appears from his hole at Gobbler's Knole in Pennsylvania every year. The first recorded celebration of Groundhog Day, then still known as Candlemas Day, was in the year1841 in Morgantown, PA. However, the first official Groundhog Day at Gobbler'sKnole was in February of 1887.
Did you know that February 14th is ---- Ferris Wheel Day and National OrganDonor Day... Oh, did I mention Valentine's Day?
One legend of Valentine says he was a Roman priest who served during the third century. He was appalled when Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage. Claudius thought single men made better soldiers, which he needed more of! Valentine thought it best to keep performing marriages for young couples in love. When the emperor found out about what Valentine was doing behind his back, he had Valentine put to death. Not the greatest end to a storyabout love...
It is said Valentine sent love letters to a young, blind girl from prison, who visited him while he was there. Supposedly he signed each letter, "From your Valentine." Sound familiar?
The gemstone Amethyst is the birthstone for February. Amethyst is the purple variety of the mineral quartz and is a popular gemstone. It is also the Zodiac stone for the constellation of Pisces. Amethyst is associated with spirituality, wisdom, sobriety, and security. Although it must always be purple to be amethyst, it can and does have a wide range of purpleshades.
The name "amethyst" comes from the Greek and means "not drunken." This was perhaps due to a belief that amethyst would ward off the effects of alcohol, but most likely the Greeks were referring to the almost wine-like color of some stones that they may have encountered.
The February Birth Flower is the Violet. It symbolizes faithfulness, humility, and chastity. And February includes two Zodiac signs; Aquarius (Jan 20-Feb 18) and Pisces (Feb 19-March 20).
Some interesting people were born in February:
1st Princess Stephanieof Monaco
4th Charles Lindbergh
12th Abraham Lincoln
22nd George Washington
Presidents’ Day is an American holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. Presidents day is first federal holiday to honor an American citizen and was first celebrated on Washington's actual birthday on February 22, 1796 (the last full year of his presidency). It is still officially called "Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government but became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers. Immagine that, what a country!
Oh, Yea: Did you know that February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon?