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Friday, January 30, 2015

Groundhogs and Amethysts

February, shortest month of the year, even in those years where it’s slightly extended. This year, February is not taking the plunge, will be limited to just twenty-eight wintry revolutions about its axis. Often one of the coldest months of the winter, and filled with myth, love, and folklore, the name is derived from an ancient Roman ritual. Februa was a purification ritual, but what we are purifying isn’t spelled out.

"Surely as cometh the Winter, I know

There are Spring violets under the snow."

R. H. Newell

Wine plays a big part in the month, with the gem stone amethyst leading the way. Amethystos is a Greek work meaning not drunken and was considered sacred to that marvel of wine drinking, Dionysus. Amethyst can be as dark as a fine cabernet, and some goblets are either colored that way or are made from the gemstone.

"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home."  

  Edith Sitwell

Love plays a big part in the month. Amethyst is the favored gem for one’s seventeenth wedding anniversary, and I shan’t leave out Valentine’s Day. There are several religious saints named Valentine, so we just grouped them all together and celebrate the day on February fourteen. Chocolate makers celebrate the day more than lovers, probably, as do greeting card manufacturers. Sorry for taking the romance out of it there. Florists often are seen doing little dances of glee, and romantic dinners followed by knee-bending and promises fill out the scene.

Lupercalia, a Roman holiday of little note, is supposed to have some relationship to Valentine’s Day, but after a dozen Google searches, I’m going to let it go at that. Thank you, Shakespear.

"Away in a meadow all covered with snow
The little old groundhog looks for his shadow
The clouds in the sky determine our fate
If winter will leave us all early or late."
  Don Halley
Groundhog Day was once a very popular folk type day, actually around the world. Ground hog, marmot, den living furry critter, whatever the name, in many societies if the little guy sees his shadow on or about February 2, we will have six more weeks of winter. Now, for the fun part of all this. From February 2 to March 21 is just about six weeks, the furry piece of bear bait is right. And just how does one celebrate ground hog day. I like sausage and eggs, myself.
Until next time, read good books and stay regular. Will you join me on facebook from time to time?
Or Tweet with me, darlin’?

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