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Can you believe it’s almost Valentine’s Day? I have a theory about why the year gets away from us so quickly. Commercialized holidays. Before one holiday is over, ads for the next one come out. This makes it seem like it’s going faster. In early February, though, we get a whole bunch of things to celebrate at once. Imbolc, Groundhog Day, Lupercalia, the Roman Fertility celebration, and Valentine’s Day all fall within two weeks.
When you get down to the history of the holidays, it can get confusing. The legends behind both Imbolc and Lupercalia vary. Both are holidays to welcome spring and enhance love and fertility. However, while Imbolc is celebrated with flowers and cleansing and celebrates Brigid, a Goddess of Fire, healing, and fertility, Lupercalia, a Roman fertility celebration, that celebrated the Roman god Faunus, was a much more violent celebration involving animal sacrifice and slapping people with blood dipped animal hides to ensure fertility.
Today though, both have been adapted into modern holidays. Brigid, the Triple Goddess, in her Maiden form is celebrated at Imbolc. The pagan Goddess, Brigid, was so popular with the people she was adopted by the Catholic church as St. Bridget. On February 2, the Maiden Brigid holds the Groundhog who in some legends represents the aspect of the God as he is reborn into the world with the coming of spring.
Lupercalia, the spring celebration of the Roman god Faunus and Romulus and Remus, was also a bawdy festival that included a love lottery. Some legends say the couple was joined for the duration of the festival, while others say it was for the next year. Either way, it was believed to lead to marriage and fertility. It’s unclear precisely which St. Valentine the holiday was named for, but many believe the date was chosen to make it easier to change the pagan Lupercalia into a Christian celebration, even though St. Valentine’s Day originally had nothing to do with romance.
Well, now that we have that out of the way, I just want to offer up some ways to celebrate this time of year that are a little different than the norm. We all know about the traditional methods of celebrating with spouses or significant others, and gift giving is a wonderful way to show someone you care. We have some awesome Valentine’s Day gifts this year, by the way, and of course, spring cleaning is another tradition, and we would like to clear them out, so they're on sale, but another way I like to celebrate is to start something new.
If I’m starting to work with a new deck of cards, or studying new craft, this is a wonderful time to do it. It’s also an excellent time to stretch the creative muscles in preparation for spring and summer. Write more, take more pictures, work on your favorite craft, or start something completely new. To me, this says welcome to the spring as much as anything. Kind of like a personal creative rebirth. If you’re like me, you’ll try to do too many things, and since much like everyone else, my spare time is limited, what normally happens is that some of those things will come to the forefront and get most of the attention. There’s usually a reason for this even though I almost certainly won’t know what it is until much later in the year.
No matter how you celebrate this season of blended holidays, remember to take time for yourself as well. It’s easier to share love with others when love ourselves and honor our own spirit.