Sunday, February 03, 2008

Lore on the month of February

1st February Brides Day St Bride is a saint with pre-Christian origins - she was originally a Celtic goddess - Brigid or Brigantia. Brigid was goddess of fertility and was associated with water and wells. One of the saint's miracles was changing her bath water into beer for some visiting priests to drink, which may be one reason why there are so many wells dedicated to her.

2nd February Candlemas / Groundhog Day There are a lot of weather rhymes associated with Candlemas - mainly about not trusting nice weather in early February.

If Candlemas be fair and clear,
There'll be two winters in the year.
If a hedgehog casts a shadow at noon,
Winter will return.

In America the hedgehog in the rhyme is replaced by the groundhog. On this day the groundhog is meant to emerge from winter hibernation. If the groundhog can see its shadow (in other words if it's a sunny day), it will be frightened by it and will go back into its hole for a further six weeks hibernation and there will be more wintery weather.

9th February - Hurling the silver ball This ancient handball game takes place at St Ives in Cornwall, England, on the first Monday after February 3rd. The game is played in the town's streets and on the beach. The game starts at 10.30 am and the person holding the silver ball at noon wins a crown piece.

14th February - Valentine's Day This is the day for lovers and birds. Nowadays we choose our valentines and send them unsigned cards. In the old days men and women used to put their names on slips of paper and draw lots as to who should be their love for the day.It was believed that this was the day that birds chose their mates. What bird you saw on this day was meant to foretell the type of person you would marry. Another way was to put some bay leaves under your pillow and you would dream of your future husband or wife.

18th February - Death by Malmsey On this day in 1478 the Duke of Clarence was drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine in the Tower of London. No he didn't fall in drunk, he was murdered on the orders of King Richard III.
---Entry revisied 4:18 02/04/08---
Please note, Blog entry title; "LORE " on the month of February"
It seems I have a fan, I am posting some additional history below as was noted by a veiwer. (See comments.) The blog info on Feburary came from a UK website on Feburary lore.
Link below.
I am sure No one would believe that the Duke of Clarence was drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine. -->I would never use a butt of my honeywine wine for such a deed!! <--- :-) I tend to believe more the explanation of the the comment below. Although now I am intigued I will research this history..
Remember the word LORE also is = to; legend , belief, and folklore.

Info Noted;

18th February entry about George Duke of Clarence totally incorrect. George was executed privately in the Tower of London on the orders of his brother King Edward IV. His brother Richard, later King Richard III, having failed pleading for mercy with the king, had already left the capital before Clarence was executed.He was most probably beheaded. The drowning legend comes mainly from Shakespeare, and More, both writing anti Richard propaganda, and is most probably a comment on his alcoholism than such a bizarre means of execution, unknown in reality anywhere in history. Leave Richard III alone!

23rd February Collop Monday Lent is traditionally when Christians did not eat meat, butter, fat, eggs or cream. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. So on the Monday before collops of meat were eaten - see our Lent special for the recipe.

24th February Shrove Tuesday Lent is a time when Christians are meant to give up their sins and ask forgiveness. As Shrove Tuesday was the last day before Lent, it was a day for enjoying yourself with pancake races, Shrove football and Shrove skipping. See our Lent special for more details.

25th February Ash Wednesday Lent begins on this day. The day's name comes from the custom of making an ash cross on people's foreheads. There is one game you are allowed to play at this time of year without being told off, and that is marbles. The marbles season lasts between Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

27th February - Red Feather DayThe pupils of Sir John Cass' School, London, commemorate their school's founder on the last Friday in the month. They wear red turkey feathers. Apparently as Sir John was writing his will he coughed up blood on to his quill pen. What a nice way to remember the great man!