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February Holy Days and Festivals

St. Bridgit (Bride) (d. ca. 525)

Candlemas: The festival of Candlemas celebrated the purification of the Virgin. The weather on this day was said to mark the progress of winter.
If the sun shines bright on Candlemas Day
The half of the Winter's not yet away.

St Blase (Blaise) (d. 316)

St Andrew Corsini (1302-1373)
St Gilbert of Sempringham (ca. 1083-1189)

St Agatha (d. 251): St. Agatha is an aspect of the goddess known to the Greeks as Tyche, to the Romans as Fortuna, and to the Anglo-Saxons as Wyrd. This day is especially potent for fortune telling and all forms of divination.

St Dorothy (Dorothea) (ca. 313)

St Apollonia (d. 249): St. Apolonnia's Day celebrates the increasing light of the new year after the darkness of midwinter.

St Scholastica (d. ca. 543)

St Benedict of Anian (c. 750-821)

St Ermengild (d. ca. 700)

St Cyril and Methodius (ninth century)

St. Valentine's Day: The ways of celebrating St. Valentine's Day varied, but almost everyone wore a symbol of love; lover's knots, hearts or a crowned A. The hall was decorated with scented candles and hollowed out vegetables in which candles were placed. Often a smile was carved into the lanterns. In addition to the usual trenchers, another trencher was added, one intended to be shared by lovers. An equal number of male and female names were written on pieces of paper and were placed in separate vessels. These were carried around the room and each person drew a name. Whichever names were paired, the two became sweethearts for the following year.

Once the couples were seated together, the food was served, including heart-shaped cakes. After supper, several games may have been played. One favorite was to pass around yarrow sprigs. A healthy sprig meant love eternal, and a wilting sprig signified the recipient would never find true love. Another game was to place the sprig on a pillow, sprinkle it with rosewater and check it in the morning. Again, a wilted sprig meant no love and a healthy one meant eternal love. Girls also decorated their pillows with five bay leaves, to dream of their lover and husband-to-be. In some places an arch of brambles was carried to banish unwelcome spirits.

St Sigfrid of Sweden (d. ca. 1002)

St Onesimus (d. first century)

St Simeon (Simon) (d. ca. 106)

St Conrad (1290-1351)

St Wulfric (d. 1154)

St Peter Damian (ca. 988-1072)

St Margaret of Cortona (d. 1297)

St Polycarp (d. 166)

St Pretextatus (d. sixth century)

St Ethelbert (d. 616)
St Wallburgha (d. 779)

St Porphyrius (ca. 353-420)

St Oswald (d. 992)

St Cassian (ca. 360-433)

Next page: March Holy Days and Festivals.

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