February was named for the Roman goddess Februa, mother of Mars. As patroness of passion, she was also known as Juno Februa and St. Febronia from febris, the fever of love. Her orgiastic rites were held on February 14th, St.Valentine's Day. In Norse traditions, she is equated with Sjofn.
The Irish called this month Feabhra or an Gearran, the gelding or horse. The horse was used to draw the plough, but Gearran also means 'to cut' and 'Gearran' can be used to describe the 'cutting' Spring winds. To the Anglo-Saxons, this was Solmonath, "sun month," in honor of the gradual return of the light after the darkness of winter. According to Franking and Asatru traditions, this month is Horning, from horn, the turn of the year.
The first full moon of February is called the Quickening Moon. It shares the titles Snow Moon with January and November, Wolf Moon with January and December, and Storm Moon with March and November. February’s Moon is also called the Hunger or Hungry Moon, and it has been called the Ice, Wild, Red and Cleansing, or Big Winter Moon.
Aquarius and Pisces share power over February, with Pisces taking over around the 19th of February. Violet is the flower for those born in February. Though jacinth and pearl appear on some lists, amethyst is the jewel for those born in this month and for Pisces, while aquamarine is the stone for Aquarians. Other stones associated with Aquarius are chrysoprase, garnet, labradorite, lapis lazuli, and opal. Albite, aquamarine, chrysoprase, fluorite, green tourmaline, labradorite, moonstone, and opal are linked to Pisces.
Lunar Holy Days
With the new crescent moon, the Hopi and the Pueblo people hold their Powamu festival. Beans are planted in kivas, large buildings used for religious rituals. As many as two hundred Kachina dancers will perform rituals while the beans grow to ensure a good crop, but Eototo is the chief of all Kachinas and controls the seasons. He is the spiritual counterpart of the village chief and is called father of the Kachinas. During the Bean Dance of the Third Mesa, he conducts an elaborate ceremony by drawing cloud symbols in corn flour. Aholi (Eototo's reinforcer) places his staff in the center of the symbols and waves it in an all-encompassing fashion, while giving out a long call. This dance is designed to draw the clouds and moisture to the pueblo. Children between the ages of six and ten are initiated into their Kachina societies, receiving gifts from the dancers.
The 19th day of the first moon is the Rats' Wedding in China. The day honors household rats in order to propitiate them. Salt and grains of rice are sprinkled inside the home to share fortune with the rats.
Imbolc (or Oimelc) marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring through the influence of Brigit, the three-fold goddess of fire, poetry, and healing.
The first Day of the Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries of Demeter and Persephone lasts three days. This is the Preparation for Initiation.
The Eleusinia festivals are divided into the greater and lesser mysteries. The events celebrated at the Lesser Mysteries commemorate the descent of Persephone into the world below. The Greater Mysteries honor her return to light and to her mother and were celebrated between autumn and seedtime. These lesser mysteries were observed at Agrae near the Ilissus. In later times, the smaller festivals were preparatory to the greater, and no person could be initiated at Eleusis without previously seeking purification at Agrae. It was required that the person initiated in the Mysteries was of unblemished moral character.
At the beginning of the month, Juno Sospita, the neighbor of the Phrygian Mother Goddess, was honored with new shrines. The name literally means "Juno the Savior", but some scholars maintain that the word "sospita" is derived from a very early form of Latin and may mean something considerably different. Some see Juno Sospita as the protector of women in childbirth (and, by extension, the goddess of deliverance); some see her as a warrior, while others have a completely different view of her purpose in the Roman mythology. The Temple of Juno Sospita was in the Forum Holitorium in Rome.
This is the 18th day of Pamenot in the Egyptian calendar, a Feast of Nut.
The Februalia festival of candles honors Juno Februa. Candles are lit in honor of Juno Februa, the Purifier and Mother of Mars, and to scare away evil spirits. Februalia and Imbolc became Candlemas under Christian dominance and is now held in honor of the Virgin Mary.
"If Candlemas Day be bright and fair
Half the winter is to come and mair (more)
If Candlemas Day be dark and foul
Half the winter was over at Yowl (Yule)
This tradition is obviously continued in the celebration of Groundhog’s Day.
The Swedish Lucia-Queen is a girl wearing a crown of seven tapers set in a circle. The Crown of Lights is often worn by a very young girl, presumably to symbolize the extreme youth of the year.
This is the second day of the Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries of Demeter and Persephone.
Sul-Minerva of Bath is a British-Roman deity associated with Brigid as a goddess of knowledge and healing. Her sanctuary is described as an “ashless” fire referring instead to her sacred spring. If Sul is cognate with the Goddess of Silbury Hill, there might have once been a procession to her sacred spring, the Swellowhead which begins to flow again in February “when the Queen comes from the mound.”
On the 19th day of Pamenot, Nut was born.
St. Blasius or Blaise is one of four holy helpers invoked to help sick cattle. This saint is also responsible for helping people with sore throats. This is a masculine form of Brigit.
This is the last day of the Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries.
Setsubun is a Japanese celebration designed to drive away the evil spirits of winter in preparation for the spring. Home-owners walk through their house scattering beans into the corners to drive out any demons hiding there. The beans are saved and eaten at the first clap of thunder in the spring. Pointed branches graced with sardine heads are placed over doorways to keep the demons from returning. In temples and shrines through out Japan, purification rituals are performed to expel the sins of the people. The most respected citizens, priests, actors, and sumo wrestlers, perform mame-maki, ritual bean tossing aimed directly at the congregation. It has become common practice for well-known personalities born under the Chinese zodiacal sign for that year to be invited to throw out beans as a means of soliciting visitors.
A fair was once held today in honor of the Frost King but died out during World War I.
St. Agatha, the Christianized version of the Greek goddess Tyche, the Roman Fortuna, and the Norse Wyrd, has her holy day today. This day is especially powerful for all forms of divination and fortune telling.
The Sapporo snow festival in northern Japan is held to honor the spirits who bring water to the island. Miniature shrines are created in igloo-like structures, and for one night, children are allowed to wait in these huts, receiving visits from family and friends. The festival began in 1950 when local high school students made six snow statues in Odori Park along the city's main street. It attracted an unexpected number of spectators and, through the following years, the festival gradually became a part of life in Sapporo. Today the festival has grown to Hokkaido's biggest winter event and attracts more than 2 million visitors annually.
Today is a festival of Aphrodite.
St. Dorothy's Day is said to bring snow.
The 23rd day of Pamenot is a Feast in honor of Horus.
Li Chum in China is a celebration of Spring. During a parade, some people carry small clay water buffalo (a symbol of new life), while others carry much large representations made of bamboo and colored paper. When they reach the temple, the clay figures are smashed and the paper animals burned so that the effigies carry their pleas for a prosperous season flow up to heaven.
This is a Greek holy day dedicated to Selene.
Thomas Aquinas died today in 1274.
The Star festival is a nighttime celebration, giving thanks to the stars influencing human fate. The master of the house offers prayers to the star that governed his birth and then lights one hundred eight small lamps on a special altar. Each son in the household also offers prayers to the star of his birth, relighting three lamps as the lamps of his father go out. The brightness of the flames dictates the outcome of the year. (See also July 7th)
The Narvik Sun Pageant is a festival held in Norway in honor of the Sun Goddess, Sunna. The festival begins at dawn and continues until evening shadows darken the sky.
As a feast day to Apollo, this day honors the increasing light of the New Year after the darkness of winter.
Dahini Day is a Tibetan holy day.
Eratosthenes, a Greek mathematician, philosopher, poet, astronomer, and director of the Alexandrian Library, asserted that the world was round and correctly measured the size of our world 200 hundred years before the birth of Christ. In his library was an ancient book by Aristarchus of Samos who also asserted the world was round long before such knowledge was acceptable.
The New Year in Argunga, Nigeria is celebrated with a festival to start the fishing season. The Kebbawa tribe travel to the Sokoto River carrying large dippers and nets. Everyone jumps into the river at once in the hope that the large splash will scare fish into their nets. The largest fish receives a prize, but the overall size of the catch is also an indication of the will of the gods in the coming season.
The famous apparition of Our Lady at Lourdes, an ancient shrine to the goddess, occurred today. This was the last manifestation of the goddess at this site.
Osiris had a feast day in Abydos on the 28th day of Pamenot.
This is a day holy to Diana (or Artemis).
Gerald Gardner, founder of the Gardnerian Tradition, died in 1964 of heart failure.
Beginning at noon, this is the first day of the Roman Parentalia, a part of Mania. From now to the 21st, the Romans honor their dead, especially their parents. Temples are closed and marriages are forbidden. People visit their ancestral tombs, leaving wine, milk, and flowers. The last day of the festival is Feralia.
The Manes are good spirits of the dead. Immortal like the gods, they were honored with many private celebrations, in addition to a public and universal festival. Vesta was also honored at this time.
Gwyl o Danu a Cernunnos, the festival of Festival of Love, honors Danu and Cernunnos. It begins at sundown and continues thru February 21st.
The 30th day of Pamenot is the Feast of Osiris in Busiris. The Doorways of the Horizon are opened.
St. Valentine's Day honors a Roman priest martyred in 270 by the Emperor Claudius for performing secret marriage ceremonies. His feast day was later tied to the pagan Roman festival Lupercalia.
At the Lupercalia, couples are paired by lots. After drawing names, people exchange gifts and remain partners until the end of the festival. In Rome, girls place five bay leaves under their pillows to dream of their future husbands or lovers.
Birds are also thought to choose their mates on February 14th. By watching birds, a young woman can discover what kind of man she will marry. A robin means a sailor for a husband; a sparrow means a poor man but a happy union. A gold finch represented a wealthy mate.
Long before Valentine, this day was sacred to Sjofn, the Norse goddess of love. The archer god Vali, son of Odin, and Juno Februa, a Roman love goddess, were also honored today.
This is the second day of the Parentalia Mania.
In England, an arch of brambles is carried to ward off evils spirits. In Scandinavia, there is a tradition of walking labyrinths today.
The Romans honor Lupa, the She-Wolf who nursed Remus and Romulus, with the Lupercalia. The divine twins, Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome are honored, and the god Faunus, an aspect of the god Pan, protector of agriculture and flocks and giver of oracles and the goddess Juno are also associated with the Lupercalia. Young men gather at the Lupercal, the cave where the twins were suckled by a she-wolf, and sacrifice a goat and a dog. Smearing themselves with the blood, they dress in the animals' skins and circle the city, slapping people with pieces of goatskin. Women volunteer to be struck in order to become fertile or help ease childbirth. As part of the ceremony, the foreheads of two youths are wiped with wool dipped in milk. Then the boys laugh.
The third day of the Parentalia is associated with Proserpina or Persephone. This is the Februum, or Purification.
In 1521, Pope Leo X issued his order to ensure that all those convicted of witchcraft by the Inquisition would be executed.
On the 2nd Day of Parmutit, Geb proceeds to Busiriso.
Losar, the Tibetan New Year, is celebrated with shows, parades, and archery contests. Before Losar, the monks drive out the evil influences of the old year with a Devil Dance. Dressing in brilliant silk and huge, grotesque masks, they dance for hours until a sorcerer succeeds with a spell against the demons.
Galileo (1520-1591) was born on this day.
This is the fourth day of the Parentalia.
The Hindus believe that Kali Yuga, or the Evil Age, began on this day in the year 3102 BC. This is considered the last and most sinful of all the four ages of man and is supposed to continue for 432,000 years at which time the world will be destroyed by the goddess Kali. The cycle will then begin again with the Krita Yuga, the Golden Age of Truth.
This is the fifth day of the Parentalia. An old proverb says, “The oven is the mother.” Fornacalia is a Roman festival of bread, ovens, and the oven goddess Fornax. In Roman mythology, she and her holy day play an important role in connection with the national bread, the Far. Fornacalia also helps plants in their coming growing season, and plants should be tended with extra care on this day.
The Zoroastrian festival of Spenta Armaiti Spandarmat, the Festival of Cultivators or Festival of Women, is a Persian festival.
Copernicus (b.1473) was called a fool for his claims that the earth revolved around the sun.
On the sixth day of the Parentalia and beginning of Feralia, offerings are left at the tombs. The souls of the dead are appeased with small gifts brought to the extinguished pyres. The dead value piety more than any costly gift. Such gifts might include a tile wreathed with votive garlands, a sprinkling of corn, a few grains of salt, bread soaked in wine, or some loose violets. These offerings are set on a potsherd in the middle of the road, and prayers and the appropriate words are said at hearths set up for the purpose.
From this time until the 21st, Tacita, the silent Goddess (Dea Muta) is honored. She is also called Lara, mother of the Lares. She is asked to bind hostile speech and unfriendly words.
This is the seventh day of Parentalia.
This is the eighth day of Parentalia.
The Society for Psychical Research was founded in London in 1882.
On the 7th day of Parmutit, Min Goes Forth in festivity.
Some sources say Feralia lasted for one day only, which is variously stated as the 17th and 21st. Others extend it over a period of 11 days, from the night of the 8th to the day of the 18th. Instituted by Numa Pompilius, this is the last day of Mania and Parentalia. Family reunions are held and the Lares, the ancestral spirits guarding homes, are honored. This is the Roman All Souls' Day, during which each household makes offerings at the graves of its dead. The spirits of the dead are abroad in the world and hover over their graves. Food and goods are left to appease them. Mania takes part in the festivals of the Compitalia and the Feralia.
This is the birthday of Patricia Telesco.
The 8th day of Parmutit is the Day of counting the partos of the eye of Horus.
The Roman festival of Charista, Caristia, or Cara Cognatio (from the word cara “dear” kinsfolk) is a feast of favor and good will in honor of the goddess Concordia. Disputes between family and friends are settled today and presents were given with the intent of reconciling friends and relations. Near relations come to honor the familial deities, the Lares, with offerings of incense and food. This holiday also serves to strengthen family bonds. After so many days of honoring the dead, the celebrants rejoice in the living.
Sybil Leek (1923-1983) was born today. Sybil Leek was an English Witch, a gifted psychic, astrologer, and prolific author who wrote more than 60 books on such subjects as Astrology, Numerology and Reincarnation. She was born with a witch’s mark and claimed to be a hereditary witch of Irish and Russian Descent. Her entire family was involved in astrology and some of the guests who visited her childhood home included H.G. Wells, Lawrence of Arabia and Aleister Crowley.
Terminalia was the last festival of the Roman year. Honoring Terminus, the god of boundaries and frontiers, neighbors would meet where their fields adjoined to bedeck the stone boundary markers, termini, with garlands and make offerings of corn, honey, and wine. Anyone who accidentally or intentionally moved these stones was accursed.
(or 19th) The Shivaratri, Shiva's Night, is a Hindu celebration honoring the god of destruction and renewal. A day of total fasting is followed by an all night vigil at the shrines of Shiva where the celebrants watch the flames of small oil lamps.
On this day in the year 1582, our calendar was reformed yet again, moving New Year's Day from March 25th to January 1st.
Today is sacred to Nut, an Egyptian sky goddess.
This is Hygeia’s Day in North Africa.
This the 13th day of Parmutit, an Egyptian holy day honoring Mut and Nut.
Mira Bai, an Indian princess, mystic and poetess (c. 1500) is honored today.
Kalevala Day is celebrated in Finland. It marks the publication of the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic.
Merriddyn Dydd, the Day of Merriddyn, begins at sundown.
Buddha’s Conception is celebrated today in Tibet.
Added to keep the calendar in line with the solar year, this is a day for women to propose marriage, a custom formalized in 1288 by Scottish Parliament.