Saturday, 9 February 2013

load-bearing month

Fixed and statutory holidays aside, I was wondering if the advance and regression of the Moon inevitably yoked Fasching, Carnival, Marti Gras with the Lunar New Year, but then I realised that this upcoming week, beginning with the ringing in of the Year of the Snake, is really chocked full of celebrations, with the feast day of Cædmon, the earliest Anglo-Saxon poet known by name, following on Monday, with the birthday of statesman Abraham Lincoln and the commemoration of Freedom to Marry, when San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsome back in 2004 directed staff to issue marriage licenses in a non-discriminatory manner, then on 12 February.

Wednesday (the 13th) marks the Roman feasts of Lupercalia (spring-cleaning and to encourage fertility, for which two billy-goats and a dog were sacrificed, and were call februa, and celebrants wore their skins) and Parentalia to honour one’s ancestors. Next is naturally St. Valentine’s Day, an international and thoroughly modern institution. 15 February marks Susan B. Anthony Day, American suffragette, and scads of other national observances. Friday marks Kim Jong-il’s birthday and the martyrdom of Elias and his Companions who sought to free and comfort Christians condemned to lives of slave labour in Roman mines during the persecution of Emperor Maximinus II. Saturday sees also the Roman holiday of Flamen Quirinalis (the first three months of the old Roman calendar did not really count, thus November for nine and December for ten, and all these holidays carried on for quite a while) who was considered the deification of statecraft, spear-wielder, and perhaps prototypical cousin to the image of Cupid. That’s quite a bit to pack into one week—not to be overshadowed by any one in particular and there seems to be a common thread running through them all.