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February 2007 Calendar

Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday

10

16

19

21

Feralia

27

28

St Radegund of the Oats, Out with the Shvod, Kalevala Day, Mid Lent Carnival

29

Leap Year Day

“China tea, the scent of hyacinths, wood fires and bowls of violets — that is my mental picture of an agreeable February afternoon.”
— Constance Spry. (Quoted by Sarah Ban Breathnach in Simple Abundance).

The name of the month February comes from a Latin word: februa. Ovid wrote, "In ancient times, purgations had the name of Februa…the Grecians held that pure lustrations (propiatory offerings) could efface an impious deed to guilt of blood…" However Februata was also the name of an aspect of Juno and is related eytmologically to the words febrile and fever (as in spring fever). It appears that this aspect of Juno was associated with mating and fertility.

My Lives of the Saints says that Juno Februata was once worshipped on February 15th and Pope Sergius wrote that people should offer up a candle to the Virgin Mary on Candlemas which they once offered to "this woman Februa." However, according to Blackburn, the goddess Februa was invented by medieval writers.

In Greece, under the name of Hera, she was associated with the calendar year. Every spring she bathed in the spring at Canathus near Argos to renew her virginity, a purification ceremony like that undergone by the Virgin Mary on February 1st. Hera is depicted with a spring cuckoo on her sceptre and holding the ripe pomegranate of late autumn in her left hand to symbolize the death of the year. The Greek month of Gamelion, which honored the marriage of Hera and Zeus, usually spanned the months of January and February.

The Anglo-Saxons called the month, Kale-monath because kale was a main ingredient in the soup on a winter menu. Also Sprout-kele, referring to the sprouting of greens, as in Holland where it is sprokelmaand, vegetation month. In Gaelic, this was Faoilleach, the month of ravaging wolves, not as pleasant an image, but nicely connected with the Lupercalia (see February 15).

According to Blackburn, February was called Hornung in German, which means "the bastard begotten in the corner," referring to its short number of days and its position as the last month of the year. The Scots Gaelic name for the month means "the gelding" and the Welsh call it y mis bach, "the little month."

Early Roman calendars had only ten months and went from March to December. January and February were added, supposedly in the 7th century BCE. I particularly like this notion that January doesn’t really exist—I call it the Blank Month.

In Scots Gaelic the name of the month is faoilteach or faoilleach, which means wild and also wolf. It was also called am Mios Marbh (the dead month) and Deireadh-Geambraidh (the end of winter).
Sacred to Juno; the Greek month celebrating her marriage begins on the new moon after the winter solstice.

Goddesses of February: Brigid, Juno/Hera, Kore/Prosperine, Derketo/Atargatis, Concordia, Maslenitza

Blackburn, Bonnie and Leofranc Holford-Strevens, Oxford Companion to the Year, Oxford University Press 1999
Hoever, Reverend Hugo,
Lives of the Saints, Catholic Publishing Company 1955


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