“The February sunshine steeps your boughs and tints the buds and swells the leaves within.” – William C. Bryant
With the new year officially in full swing, aside from the blistering, knee-rattling cold, what does February hold in store for us? Here are some fun and interesting holiday facts.
February 1st – National Freedom Day: This day commemorates the signing of the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery on February 1, 1865 by President Lincoln.
February 2nd – Groundhog Day: Each year in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, folks gather round to see if the groundhog will see it’s shadow and if he does, there will be 42 more days of winter! Brrrr…
February 3rd – Chinese New Year: Red clothing wards away evil spirits and bad fortune. New clothing symbolizes starting the year anew. According to 2011 Year of the Rabbit predictions, many opportunities for communication gaffes are in the offing. Now if we could only understand what this means…
February 14th – Valentine’s Day: The U.S. greeting card association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making this day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas. And be sure to note, out of all the valentines sent, women purchase approximately 85 percent. So now we know who the romantics of the world are…
February 21st – President’s Day: This day is set aside to observe and honor Washington’s Birthday, the first U.S. President, Abraham Lincoln,and other US Presidents. For most, this is just another day off…
Out of all these holidays, Valentine’s Day is, of course, the most celebrated. But does anyone know its true history? The holiday of Saint Valentines Day was originally a day to celebrate two Saint Valentines: Valentine of Rome, and Valentine of Terni – both martyred in the early second and third centuries. Distinction between these two saints no longer exists, but many stories exist explaining the original saint. One such story explains that Valentine (no proof as to which one) was arrested and interrogated by Roman Emperor Claudius II, who tried to get Valentine to convert to roman paganism. Valentine refused and tried to convert the emperor to Christianity. He was then executed, but not before healing his captor’s blind daughter.
No romantic association originally existed, but according to modern created legends, Roman Emperor Claudius II made a law stating that all men must remain single. Valentine performed marriage ceremonies for couples secretly anyway. He was eventually discovered and arrested. But before he was killed, he wrote the first valentine to his captor’s daughter and his true love, who he had healed. It was signed, “From your Valentine.”
In Ancient Rome, a holiday called Lupercalia was celebrated from February 13th- February 15th, promoting fertility. Some believe that Valentine’s Day began as a Christianized version of Lupercalia. In 1400, Paris established the “High Court of Love” on February 14th to protect women. This is believed to be when Valentines day began to be celebrated as a loving day. Interesting?!?
Quote of the Day: (One of my favorites)
“The hours I spend with you I look upon as sort of a perfumed garden, a dim twilight, and a fountain singing to it. You and you alone make me feel that I am alive. Other men it is said have seen angels, but I have seen thee and thou art enough.” ~ George Moore
Contest Time! So what’s Kaylin got up her sleeve this month?
A chance to win a Free Kindle!! Send your favorite Irish joke, limerick or poem to firstname.lastname@example.org and on March 17th (St. Paddy’s Day), the winning entry will receive a free Kindle valued at $189… the perfect wireless reading device to download and enjoy your copy of Flaherty’s Crossing.
Kaylin’s Recommended Reads for February:
* A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest Gaines – When a Cajun farmer is murdered outside the home of an elderly black plantation worker, several other aging black men of the plantation and the white woman who owns it rally around, each claiming to be guilty of the murder.
* Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer – A young Jewish American travels to the Ukraine in the hope of finding the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis.
* The Good Husband by Gail Godwin – Now in her 60s and dying of ovarian cancer, English professor Magda Danvers and her husband befriend another couple, whose marriage is also beset by adversity. Although the subject sounds depressing, this is an uplifting story.
Kaylin’s Recipe of the Month: Fresh Lobster Salad
Ingredients (4 Servings)
* 1 pound cooked lobster meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
* 1/4 cup butter, melted
* 1/4 cup mayonnaise
* 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1. Place the lobster chunks into a medium bowl, and pour the melted butter over. Toss to coat, then stir in mayonnaise and season with black pepper. Cover and chill for 20 minutes before serving.
2. Serve on toasted rolls or croissants. You won’t be disappointed!
Note: A delicious treat anytime! A simple lobster salad with butter and just a hint of mayonnaise so that you can still taste the sweet lobster meat. Yum!
So remember … Stay positive, give happiness away, and be sure to recommend Flaherty’s Crossing to everyone you know!
Have a great month!