There a lot of days to choose from this February in which to plan a party or event, large or small. And because it’s a leap year you’ve got an extra day to use. Feb. 2 is Groundhog Day but unless you live in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania it’s more likely you’re throwing or attending a Superbowl Party which also occurs on the second. The San Francisco 49ers are going up against the Kansas City Chiefs. Around the globe, millions of people gather at sports bars or homes to watch the game. After New Year’s Eve, Superbowl Sunday is the next largest snack day of the year. Some folks could care less about the actual game. They’re going for the party food or perhaps just to watch the commercials or half time show. On Feb. 9 a different type of television watching party occurs. That night the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences presents their Oscars. Movie fans will sometimes organize parties, prepare foods and snacks and make friendly bets on who will win. Leading up to the event you’ll hear historical facts about the Oscars. Past winners will be remembered and trivia type conversations like what was the first foreign language picture to win an Oscar will be held. Some people really don’t care who wins the Golden Statue, they just want to see what the actors and actresses will wear, or who will give the best acceptance speech. The next day multiple stories will be written about the winners or snubs, best or worst dressed and other Oscar topics. Not as popular as it used to be, many will still watch.
When thinking of special days in Feb. most folks will immediately think of Valentine’s Day. This special day occurs annually on Feb. 14th. Did you know that the day has roots going back to ancient times? In Rome, folks celebrated the Feast of Lupercalia on Feb. 14th. On that day people gave homage to the Roman God of Fertility. The traditions for this day have grown over time. Like many, you may send cards or give small gifts to those you love. You might also remember exchanging candy hearts with other kids when you were a child. It’s certainly a romantic day for lovers and spouses. Many businesses promote the day. Chocolates, flowers, jewelry as gifts and romantic candlelit dinners are common. Finally, many couples either become engaged or get married on Valentine’s Day. If that describes you and your partner Happy Anniversary and Valentine’s Day to you!
This year the third Monday of the month is Feb 17. That’s when President’s Day is observed. Since 1968, this is a day set aside to honor all United States Presidents. If you are of a certain age, you might remember we used to celebrate Lincoln’s Birthday on the 12th and Washington’s Birthday on the 22nd. Washington’s Birthday was a federal holiday whereas Lincoln’s was a holiday only in some states. This shifted in the late 1960s when Congress submitted legislation called the “Uniform Monday Holiday Act.” This law established the celebration of several federal holidays from specific dates to a series of predetermined Mondays which created more three-day weekends. Passed in 1971, it established President’s Day on the third Monday because it fell between Lincoln’s and Washington’s actual birthdays. Federal employees, the post office, and banks are closed on this day, however most businesses do not recognize it as a paid holiday.
Finally, this year Fat Tuesday, also known as Mardi Gras, falls on the 25th. Always celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday which begins a long fasting period for many Christians. They give up something special, that they enjoy, for Lent. So, on Fat Tuesday many folks feast on food and drink before starting their fasts. Fat Tuesday is mostly connected with the Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street and the City of New Orleans. There the day is celebrated with parades and other festivities including lots of drink and food. If you’re there celebrating be aware a big tradition is the wearing of Mardi Gras beads. The tradition says that if a guy gives a girl some beads, she must do something for him. In this era of #metoo, you might want to consider something else besides flashing body parts. In any case, think before you drink. Fair warning gentlemen, if I get given a string of beads – a peck on the cheek is all you get from me.