Friends and family know I’m getting pretty excited about the impending arrival of the best month of the year. February! I know there are haters out there, especially in Michigan, but my love for February is as true as that of a lover for their Valentine. It’s always been that way and my Februarys are full of wonderful memories.
When I was a kid, we would make “Valentine bags” at school. What started out as a plain brown lunch bag was transformed into a magnificent work of art with the help of a little Elmer’s glue, white paper doilies, and red and pink construction paper. It would then serve as a receptacle for the small white envelopes fellow students would drop into it on February 14 as they crunched on Brach’s conversation hearts.
Valentine’s Day also meant that my mom would be making Valentine boxes with her church lady friends. These boxes would then be sent out to all the college students and military members that were a part of our church family. Always in sync with the theme, Mom would usually make heart shaped butter press cookies – colored pink, of course, with red food color. Using plastic food wrap, she would wrap the cookies in pairs and then head over to the church kitchen. When she came home she would always have some announcement. “We packed 60 boxes,” or “Fifteen of our boxes are going out of the country!” Often she would share that somebody commented about her “perfectly heart-shaped” cookies.
But February is about so much more than Valentine’s Day. February kicks into high gear almost immediately with Ground Hog’s Day. What’s not to love about this weird and quirky holiday that promises that spring is only six weeks away regardless of what its temperamental figurehead has to say? Thinking of heading to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to party with the main dog, Phil? Plan to book a year in advance as accommodations ‘phil’ up quickly. And if you want a brand-name chain hotel, plan to stay in a town 30 minutes away as there really isn’t much to Punxsutawney aside from the once a year holiday. If you’re interested, let me know, a Gobbler’s Knob trip is on my bucket list.
February is also a fabulous time to celebrate a birthday. My husband, son and I were all born in February. We’re in good company. George Washington, George Harrison, Rosa Parks, Steve Jobs, Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Alan Rickman and Johnny Cash all celebrate February birthdays. Well, some of those folks aren’t celebrating anymore, but we do so on their behalf.
Need more incentive to celebrate February? How about the yummy, variating date holidays. Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras, Super Bowl and Chinese New Year. All excellent reasons to celebrate and to eat! Fat Tuesday is in February more often than not. Did someone say paczkis? Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest food consumption day in the U.S., second only to Thanksgiving and is now regularly scheduled for the first Sunday in February. Chinese New Year also is more apt to be in February than March. And whether you were born under the sign of the Dragon, the Dog, or the Tiger we should all celebrate with some Chinese take-out.
February 22 – National Margarita Day. Nuff said.
And then every once in a while, just to keep you on your toes, February throws in an extra day. What other month does that for you? Oh, to be born on Leap Day! Sure, it would be sad to have fewer birthdays – imagine being 32 years old and celebrating your eighth birthday – but I would think the uniqueness of it all would be worth it. You could join the other Leaplings, thought to only number 187,000 in the U.S. Being born on Leap Day is actually rarer than being born with 11 fingers or toes.
On that note, I’ll close, but I’d love to hear your comments and know if there is anything that you celebrate in February.