A common expression often heard these days is Corona-fatigue. After a year of masks, disinfectants and almost exclusively pandemic-news (except the US election…), is it any wonder that we are starting to get fed up with the entire thing? I can quite understand that people are feeling impatient and wanting to not give a damn. But whilst wishing it to be over, we unfortunately cannot go back to living as we used to – unless of course you are the sole resident of a deserted island. We, humanity, are together in this mess, and like it or not, we must endeavour to find our inner Zen-ness until vaccines and mass-immunisation will allow us to live freely again.
It is easy to wonder if we have anything at all to look forward to, save a couple of jabs in the arm? At times it feels like this month only brings bills and belt-tightening. But do not underestimate February!
February is the last winter month and the shortest month of the year so it will be over in a jiffy. The Romans officially made into the second month of the year in 450 BCE. The name February comes from Latin Februarius or februare which refers amongst other things to cleanse, amend or renew. And why not dedicate a month to cleansing, be it physical, mental or metaphysical? Since most of us are stuck mainly at home these days, there is no excuse for not starting our seasonal cleanse!
February is a transitory month. Well, all months are, really. But in February we can feel it in the air – biting cold one day and almost springlike the next. We can hear, smell and sense the transformation, as life returns. For those of us who live in Andalucía, the first spring blossoms have already come out. The other day during a walk, we came across an entire hilltop covered in the beautifully subtle scented miniature wild irises. The almond blossoms are also showing their pink and white blooms, whereas those at lower altitudes can behold the shockingly yellow mimosas, otherwise called La reina de febrero or the Queen of February.
We all know Valentine’s Day, or the day of the lovers on February 14th, but the month has many less-known days to celebrate – some with century-long traditions and others quite new and a wee bit odd:
The month begins with the World Inner Harmony Week, which coincides with the Freedom from Slavery Day on February first. The following day is Groundhog Day in the USA, when it is said that the rodent known as a groundhog first peaks out from its hibernation. If it sees its own shadow, it will hurry back into its comfortable den, only to re-emerge six weeks later. Therefore, if the tale is to be believed, the groundhog will tell us if spring will come early or late.
Unless you have gone back into hiding, do not forget to praise your postal worker on February 4th, the ‘Thank the Mailman Day’. The very same day is dedicated to another important cause, the World Cancer Day. Speeding along, on February 5th the Roman goddess Fortuna is honoured – may her good fortune shine upon us all. The Americans celebrate National Pizza Day on the 9th, Chinese start their New Year on the 12th, followed by the World Radio Day on the 13th. The Organ Donor Day appropriately coincides with Valentines and if your heart is still beating, do not forget the Random Acts of Kindness Day on February 17th.
February 20th is Love your Pet Day, while the 21st is sticky bun day. Towards the end of the month, join the English in celebrating the Wear Red Day on the 26th. And to finish it all with a splash, there is the Polar Bear Day on the 27th, swim optional, so mark your calendars!
For this month and into the foreseeable future, we must learn to coexist with COVID. I choose to spend as much time as possible in nature, which offers me endless joy and diversion, plus much-needed peace of mind. But perhaps you choose to hibernate like the groundhog, cleanse like the Romans, or drape yourself in red like the English instead? What we can say for certain is that February offers something for everyone!