It’s a Leap Year!  We have an extra day in February this year.  Have you any special plans for that day?  My favourite story is that February always had 29 days until Augustus Caeser stole a day from it and gave it to August, his namesake month. It’s a pity somebody didn’t steal a day or two from January. It was such a long month!

I hope you all marked St. Brigid’s Day. The story goes that St. Brigid made an agreement with St. Patrick that women would be allowed to propose to men on a leap day, supposedly to balance the traditional roles and men and women.  Cheers to St Brigid, the first feminist, whose feast day was February 1st.

In many European countries, particularly in the upper classes, tradition dictated that any man who refused a woman’s proposal on February 29th had to buy her 12 pairs of gloves so that she could hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring.  In Greece, it is considered unlucky to marry in a leap year, especially on a leap day.

In ancient Rome, Februus was the god of purification and every year they held a festival – Februa, during which people were ritually washed.  Their minds and bodies purified in preparation for the year ahead.  I think I’ll just stick to appreciating an extra day.

While this year we are preoccupied with the extra day, most people associate February with St. Valentine’s Day.

  Why do we need a special day to show our affection for the one we love.  surely that is something we should do every day?  Not with cards and flowers but with simple gestures.  A smile, a touch, a hug when it’s needed and when it’s not.

Hope you have a fabulous February.


Marriage and Valentines

A little anecdote for you, for the week that’s in it!

week 7 love hearts

Many years ago, myself and my sister were looking for something in the attic.  It was dark and dusty, and we were going through boxes of old photos and cards.  I can’t remember what we were looking for specifically, but we came across the valentine card our father had sent to our mother the year previous.  It was one of those large, padded cards with love hearts and red roses, in a white cardboard box with the printer’s name on the back.  It was in pristine condition, signed ‘all my love, PJ’, and a row of kisses.

We smuggled it downstairs and waited for Dad to get in from work.  While Mam was busy in the kitchen we passed the card on to him and suggesting that he give her the card for valentines the following day.  He was delighted.  It was the early 80’s, we were a large family and money was very tight and he would have struggled to gather up the price of a Valentine card.   So, on Valentine’s Day, he gave her the card, again.  Our mother was delighted with the card.  She took her time opening the box.  She ran her hand over the padded surface and opened it and read the verse inside.  Mam and Dad exchanged smiles.  She told him he shouldn’t have wasted his money on a card while smiling at him with a look that said how touched she was, how happy to receive that token of his love.

week 7 love When Valentine’s Day was over we carefully stowed the card away in its box, still pristine and ready for the next year.  That year she recognised the card the moment she opened the box.  They exchanged smiles again but this time they laughed as well.  She knew that the words and sentiment remained the same and thought it was very funny that he had given her the same card three years running.

They taught us that a good marriage is not built on gifts or cards or hearts and roses.  A good marriage is built on respect and trust and above all, love.