This morning I heared somebody on the radio describing February as a month of nothing, and I couldn’t disagree more. In olden days this was the month the farming year started. Farms would change hands, or rents would be renewed. A month of cleaning out and getting ready. When people were counting moons instead of looking in their diaries, this was the time of the new year.
There used to be a pagan festival of light at the beginning of February, in the middle of winter. Christianity turned it into Candlemas, on February 2nd , 40 days after Christmas. The celebration of the Light outside found a form in the blessing of the church candles.
Pagans baked round cakes, symbolising the return of the sun. This tradition still lives on on Shrove Tuesday, which is part of the Carnaval period. And that is Partytime!, look at Venice, Brazil or New Orleans. This might be why eating pancakes always seem to be a feast.
Yes, this is the middle of winter, a time when there used to be nothing left to eat, and the scarseness of Lent is still to come, but the Light is there, so ‘let’s party’.
I am with the Chinese on this. For them the New Year is only starting just now, and it is the biggest party of the year. So a Chinese menu at Oren this week, with 8 (lucky number) dishes, long noodles and red cooked chicken wings.
After the party it is time to plan your farming year. Get the seeds of the crops you want to grow ready. What do you want to achieve in your life this year? Start thinking now. Sow your Seeds of Change. They will germinate during lent, and will rise from the ground at your own Easter.
A recipe for some Cumin and Caraway Seed Biscuits here, so you can nibble on them while pondering. I would use Aniseed instead of Cumin.But that depends if you like it more sweet than spicy!