February also contains one of the four religious pillars of the year, Candlemas, or Presentation of the Lord on February 2, observed by the Roman Catholic & Eastern Orthodox Churches. This holiday commemorates the presentation of Jesus in the Jewish Temple & the purification of Mary 40 days after his birth. Candles have been blessed on this day since the 11th century. An old Scottish couplet proclaims: “If Candlemas is fair & clear, There’ll be two winters in the year.” This notion is also connected to the groundhog and its shadow, which scientists say has no basis in actual science, but which seems to be a lot of fun for folks in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where there is an annual festival centered around Phil, the groundhog. The legend of the groundhog's forecasting powers arguably dates back to the early days of Christianity in Europe when clear skies on Candlemas Day meant an extended winter. The tradition was then brought to Germany, with the German twist being that if the sun made an appearance on Candlemas, a hedgehog would cast its shadow, thus predicting six more weeks of bad weather. More specifically, the legend states: "For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day, so far will the snow swirl in May..."
February is the birth month of many notable and historic personages: Rosa Lee Parks, the Civil rights leader, was born at Tuskegee, Alabama on Feb. 4th, 1913; Sinclair Lewis, American Novelist & social critic was born on the 7th, 1885, as was Charles Dickens, much beloved English author (b. 1812); Thomas Edison (b. 1847) was an American inventor whose work gives us Inventor’s Day, always on February 11th; Astronomer Galileo Galilei (b.1564) and Suffragette Susan B. Anthony (b.1820) were both born on February 15th. Susan was the first American women to have her picture on an American silver dollar, and spent most of her life fighting for women's rights, including the right to vote; American novelist John Steinbeck was born on the 27th, 1902; and two pivotal America Presidents have their birthdays in this month: George Washington (b.1732) and Abraham Lincoln (b. 1809).
February is a great month to live simply and stick to essentials!