February Notes

“All the months of the year
Curse a fair Februeer.”

“February fill the dyke
Whether it be black or white.”

“February brings the rain
To thaw the frozen lake again.”

“Married in February’s sleepy weather,
Life you’ll tread in time together.”

“If bees get out in February
The next day will be rough and rainy.”

“If in February the midges dance on the dunghill, lock up your food in the chest.”

“If the cat in February lies in the sun, she will creep under the grate in March.”

“Much February snow a fine summer doth show.”

“If in February there be no rain
‘Tis neither good for hay nor grain.”

“February makes a bridge of ice and March breaks it.”

“As the days lengthen,
So the cold strengthens.”

The Anglo-Saxons called the month of February Solomath (cake month) because cakes and offerings were presented to the gods at this time. It also has the Celtic festival of Imbolc, marking the beginning of spring and the start of the lambing season, and the Roman festival of Februa.

“February comes in like a sturdy country maiden, with a tinge of red, hard winter apple on her healthy cheek, and as she strives against the wind, wraps her russet-coloured cloak well about her, while with bent head she keeps throwing back the long hair that blows about her face. And though at times half blinded by the sleet and snow, still continues her course courageously . . . the mellow voiced blackbird and the speckle breasted thrush make music among the opening blossoms of blackthorn to gladden her way, and she sees faint flushings of early buds here and there, which tell her the long miles of hedgerows will soon be green.”

Days of the Month (1st – 6th February)

1st February.

St Brigid’s, or St Bride’s Day. Patron saint of dairy maids, and her emblem is a cow. One of Ireland’s best loved saints, she was Abbess of Kildare in the late fifth and early sixth centuries. A number of churches are dedicated to her, notably one in Fleet Street, London.

2nd February.

Candlemas. Snowdrops, a symbol of purity, were called Candlemas Bells. This was a day when candles were blessed and given to the congregation to be carried in procession around the parish. It is also the day of the Roman festival, Februa.

“If Candlemas Day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another flight.
If Candlemas Day be clouds and rain,
Winter is gone and will not come again.”

In shoemaking and other indoor trades it was the day on which candles could be dispensed with during working hours.

3rd February.

St Blaise’s Day. St Blaise was a fourth century doctor who once saved a boy who was chocking on a fish bone. This led to the tradition of the Blessing of the Throats ceremony, to heal and cure people suffering from throat conditions.

“Touch the throat and say
Move up and down in the name of St Blaise.”

St Blaise is the patron saint of wool combers.

4th February.

St Gilbert’s Day. He lived in the 12th century.

6th February.

St Dorothy’s Day. Dorothea gives the most snow (reputedly).

Charles II died on this day in 1685.

“Here lies our great and sovereign lord
Whose word no man relies on.
He never said a foolish thing
Nor ever did a wise one.”

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