February is here at last! But what does it mean to you?
For those in industry, February is a good month because pay day comes around a whole lot quicker when there are only 28 days in the month.
But there are many other reasons to celebrate this the month when we (hopefully) start to see the end of winter.
Probably the most notable day in February is Valentine’s Day celebrated on the 14th. Do you send roses (there were 10,000 tons imported to Britain in 2009), chocolates or maybe a simple message d’amour? But will your card be signed or anonymous and why do you send it anyway?
Who was Valentine and why is he so celebrated?
There is actually no definitive proof that one man by the name of Valentine started the whole romance thing off. The story goes that during the reign of Claudius III in 3rd century Rome a priest by the name of Valentine was caught marrying couples and being generally helpful to the persecuted Christians. He was imprisoned and later condemned to death for his beliefs and it is said that during his stay in prison, he befriended the jailer’s blind daughter and on the day of his execution, left her a message signed ‘from your Valentine’.
The less romantic say the celebration has come about only since Geoffrey Chaucer’s story telling days of the 14th century.
But if you’re not drawn into the whole card/roses/chocolates thing, what else is there to celebrate in February?
There’s the Chinese New Year that coincidentally also falls on the 14th this year and 2010 is the Year of the Tiger, representing bravery and also to ward off the three evils of the home: fire, thieves and ghosts.
Then of course there is Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday; the day when traditionally all the decent food in the home was eaten ready for days of fasting as we head into Lent.
This year it falls on Tuesday 16th and if everyone in the UK was to eat an average of three pancakes, using Delia’s 12 pancake recipe that would need a phenomenal 1,688,500 kilograms of flour, 30,700,000 eggs and 107,450,000 fl oz of milk.
And what about the pancake filling: chocolate, jam, ice cream or the traditional lemon and sugar?
Then do you toss them or lever them out of the pan with a fish slice, trying to flip them over without losing half the soggy saucer shaped cake over the side of the pan.
If you would rather watch someone else in a pancake spectacle, there is the Olney Pancake Race that has been going for over 500 years and takes place on Shrove Tuesday.
Other February events include Groundhog Day on the 2nd in the USA and Canada, when the movements of the rodent groundhog are meant to forecast the remaining winter weather.
There are some famous February birthday boys and girls: Ronald Reagan, Charles Dickens, Bob Marley, Sheryl Crow, George Washington and Lord Baden-Powell.
- The name February Comes from the Latin word Februum meaning purification.
- February starts on the same day of the week as March and November in common years and August in leap years.
- Leap years happen every four years and the next one is in 2012.
- February 1958 saw the first parking meter appear in London’s Mayfair district and the same month in 1971, Britain turned decimal.
Delia’s 12 Pancake Recipe
110g/4oz plain flour, sifted
pinch of salt
200ml/7fl oz milk mixed with 75ml/3fl oz water
…And a Whole Lot of Love