Matho Nagrang Festival
February is not just the shortest (and - in our corner of the world - the coldest) month of the year, it is also full of holidays and festivals.
India, alone, is celebrating 18 festivals this February - ranging from Arts to Crafts, Buddhism to Blues. You can see Elephant Polo in Alwar, Traditional Dance in Khajuraho, Camel Races in Nagaur, and taste Wine with Music at the vineyards of Sula.
Chinese New Year Dishes
The Chinese New Year (2019 is the Year of the Pig) is celebrated by more than 20% of the world’s population. There is no set date in our calendar for the Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, as it is based on the Lunar Calendar, but this year it falls on February 5th. It is a time for eating, praying to the Gods and fighting off Monsters - the most fireworks are set off in the world that first night! Technically, the Spring Festival lasts 15 days, but the Holiday Season starts in (lunar) December with the Laba Festival and lasts around 40 days! The most important part of Chinese New Year is the family reunion. Everyone should come back home for the New Year’s Eve dinner. But since in modern China, most elderly parents live in rural villages while their children work in the cities. The migration back home and to go on vacation is called chunyun, or Spring Migration. And children are given money in red envelopes . . . Everything is decorated in red for Chinese New Year! The Chinese New Year ends with the Lantern Festival, China’s Version of Valentine’s Day!
Chinese Lantern Festival
Valentine’s Day is the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas. Approximately 150 million Valentine's Day cards are exchanged annually - all around the world. February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition.
The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. Tradition has it that one of these young men, held in a Roman prison, fell in love with his captor’s daughter. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed, “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still used today. This sounds (to me) dubious - at best - but then many traditions are crafted around wishful thinking and calculated manipulation of existing traditions.
Romulus and Remus with Lupa
It seems more likely (to me) that the Christian church decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. ‘Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus. To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.’
Red Roses for Valentine’s Day
Check out the Huffington Post’s Blog for 10 Valentine's Day Traditions All Around the World and Travel Triangle’s 15 Valentine’s Day Traditions Around The World That Make The Day Of Love Special , or 5 Valentine's Day Traditions From All Over The World That Will Make Single People Feel Less Alone from YourTango for more . . .
- “Pigs have a beautiful personality and are blessed with good fortune in life.” - Chinese Folklore
- “Love will find a way through paths where wolves fear to prey.” - Lord Byron
- “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” - Charles M. Schulz
And remember: The 7 Proven Health Benefits of Dark Chocolates!
I am all for Dark Chocolate!
Enjoy . . .