February: Month of the Pearl

frozen raindrops

Whether or not any groundhogs get pessimistic or optimistic about the weather today, we will have six more weeks of winter. It will be cold here in the North for all of February and at least for the first few weeks of March.

February, if ye be fair,
The sheep will mend,
and nothing mair;
February, if ye be foul,
The sheep will die in every pool.
As the day lengthens,
the cold strengthens.

Because it has only 28 days in non-leap years, February was known in Welsh as “y mis bach” or the little month.

The Anglo-Saxon terms Solmonath (mud month) and Kale-monath (as in cabbage) were used for this month.

I particularly  like the Finnish term for the month – helmikuu, meaning “month of the pearl.”  It comes from the snow melting on tree branches and forming droplets which freeze again like pearls of ice.

The word February derives from the Latin februum which means cleansing or purification. That reflects on the rituals undertaken by the Romans before spring. Yes, we still have a bit of that ritual in our spring cleaning, though it may be a bit early to get started on cleansing your altar, ceremonial tools, sacred space, and self.

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A lifelong educator on and off the Internet. Random by design and predictably irrational. It's turtles all the way down. Dolce far niente.

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