Magazine February 2021
Still no sign of the lock down being lifted but there is always hope as the final quotes show. An extract from the Epiphany Proclamation lists the important dates for the coming year. An article focuses of customs and festivals in February and there is a quiz about events that have happened in the month. Answers can be found at the end. The article from 100 years ago focuses on the Presentation of Our Lord and Lent. A Jewish legend explains why cats and dogs disagree and owners will discover what their choice of pet says about their character. There is a poem about Lent and Christ’s call to follow Him. Charlie hopes he has solved the problem about being in a bubble.
Keep safe and healthy. Eva.
The Epiphany Proclamation.
This is read in churches after the Gospel at Epiphany. This was essential before calendars and diaries were in general circulation so the dates of the coming Liturgical year could be known.
Extracts from the Epiphany Proclamation 2021.
“While a day like Christmas is fixed in our minds and on the calendars on December 25th, many of the important feasts of the Church year move, based upon the date that Easter is set. Easter changes each year moving to the Sunday after the “Pascal Full Moon,” and can fall between March 22 and April 25. – – –
“Let us recall the year’s culmination, the Easter Triduum of the Lord: his last supper, his crucifixion, his burial, and his rising celebrated between the evening of the First of April and the Third of April, Easter Sunday being on the Fourth day of April. – – – “Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, will occur on the Seventeenth day of February.
“The Ascension of the Lord will be commemorated on Thursday, the Thirteenth day of May.
“Pentecost, joyful conclusion of the season of Easter, will be celebrated on the Twenty-third day of May.
“And this year the First Sunday of Advent will be on the Twenty-eighth day of November, 2021. – – –
“To Jesus Christ, who was, who is, and who is to come, Lord of time and history, be endless praise, for ever and ever. Amen.”
Some customs and festivals in February.
Some are fixed but others are determined by the date of Easter.
1. The fixed dates.
Feb. 1st. The Celtic Feast of Imbole. ‘Imbole’ literally means ‘in milk’ and has traditionally marked the beginning of the lactation period of cows and ewes. Milk was an essential product for the tribes. This festival was a time for great joy as it pointed to the end of winter and a time for growth.
This was also the date of the second of the four great fire festivals and was linked to Brighid’s pregnancy. This was a sign of new life and the awakening of the land.
Feb. 2nd. Candlemas or the Festival Day [or Mass] of the Candles. It was the day when all the candles, which would be used in the church during the coming year, were blessed.An ancient festival, the Feast of Lights, occurred on this day. It marked the midpoint of winter, half way between the shortest day and the spring equinox.
In Jedburgh a ball game takes place. Everyone who wants to can take part and the object is to get a ball, approximately the size of a baseball, past a certain point. Apparently there are few rules. According to a legend it was first played by Scottish soldiers, after a battle, using an English soldier’s head.
Candlemas is 40 days after the birth of Christ and celebrates the Purification of Mary and the presentation of Jesus to the Lord. This was a ceremony undertaken by mothers according to the Law.
It was also called the Wives’ Feast.
Feb. 3rd. The feast of St. Blaise, the patron saint of those who suffer from throat complaints. A ceremony at St. Blaise church in London blesses throats of sufferers by touching them with two candles bound together.Feb. 13/14th. Blessing of the salmon nets at Pedwell Beach, Northumbria. Close to midnight on the 14th fishermen gather on the banks of the River Tweed and a local vicar blesses the nets and the boats. The fishermen then set of to make their first catch of the season.
Feb. 14th. St. Valentine’s day. Originally it was thought that birds chose their mate on this day.
St. Valentine was a pagan priest in Rome in the 3rd. Century and became a Christian. He became the patron saint of lovers. It became a custom to chose partner on this day.
The first man an unmarried woman saw on that day would become her husband.
All the names of a girl’s suitors would be written on pieces of paper, wrapped in clay, and put in a pot of water. The first piece of paper rising to the top would name her future husband.
If a woman saw a robin fly overhead she would marry a sailor;
if a sparrow she would marry a poor man;
if a goldfinch she would marry a rich man.
2. The moveable feasts.
a. Cradle rocking ceremony. The Sunday nearest to Feb. 2nd.
This was banned in the Reformation but was revived in Blidworth, Nottinghamshire in 1923. A child is rocked in a cradle in remembrance of the Presentation of the Lord in the temple.
b. Feaston Day. The first Monday after the Feb. 3rd. The hurling of the silver ball at St. Ives in Cornwall. A ball is thrown from the wall of St. Ida’s parish church and who ever holds the ball on the first stroke of noon wins a prize of a crown piece. (Not sure of what happens now.)
c. Fastelavn. The last Sunday before Lent. A festival in Denmark when Danish buns filled with jam and cream are eaten.
Children dress up to ‘hit the cat out of the barrel’. Originally a cat was placed inside and the barrel was bashed until it was broken and the cat could escape. Now sweets are put inside. The best bashers became the Cat King and the Cat Queen.
d. Shrove Tuesday. The day before the beginning of Lent.It was also called Shrive Tuesday as it was a time to reflect on one’s sins ready for repenting on the following day.
Today Pancakes and pancake races feature. Originally the day was a time to use up butter, eggs and flour before fasting during Lent was strictly observed. Pancakes are made as a symbol reflecting these times. Races have been recalled as early as 1445. A legend tells how a woman who was cooking heard bell calling people to prayer rushed to church with her pan in her hand. Pancake races are more widespread today. If a pancake is not dropped you will have good luck all the year.
Shrove Tuesday football occurs in many places including Olney in Buckinghamshire, Ashbourne in Derbyshire and Corfe Castle in Dorset. This is more a free for all with few rules and involves hundreds of players. It dates back to the 12th century and local building e.g. a pub or a church being goals.
Shrove Tuesday skipping in Scarborough, Yorkshire, involves a run along the seafront of about a mile.
A second Ball game is held at Jedburgh.
e. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, occurs 40 days before Easter. This is marked by church services when frequently ashes, mixed to a paste with holy water, is used to mark the sign of a cross on peoples’ foreheads.
It was a custom to place a twig of ash down ones sock or in a pocket. If you did not have any ones feet were stamped on.
f. Kissing Friday. This occurred on the following Friday when boys were entitled to kiss girls without fear of punishment. It occurred until the 1940’s.
Nippy Hug Day happened in Sileby, Leicestershire, on the same day. Men could demand a kiss. If this was denied they had a right to louse, or pinch the woman’s behind.
The Presentation of Christ in the Temple commonly called The Purification of Saint Mary theVirgin. Bp. A.C.A. Hall.
“When the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought Him to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord; and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” – S. Luke ii. 22,24.
‘The Law of Purification and Presentation did not strictly apply to her case and that of the Child. There was no need of purification in that Child-bearing; she had contracted no stain; in that Birth there was nothing in the degree contrary to perfect purity, for He was “conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary.” Nor was there any need of redemption in his case; He was indeed Himself the Priest and Victim, the First-born Son, Who, by the sacrifice of Himself, was to redeem all . . . We have a similar example of this diligence in using the means of grace in Mary’s yearly visit to the Temple. It was not an obligation on the woman’s part, as it was with men; but she did not excuse herself, or urge the plea that it was difficult to leave her Child at home with the rough crowd at Nazareth, or that there was no need for her to go to the Temple, where the services were so perfunctorily performed; she was better employed at home with her Child! Blessed Mary gives us an example of diligence, of faithfulness and earnestness in seeking God in all appointed means of grace. Then let us examine our regularity in the use of means of grace – times of prayer, sacraments, fasting days, rules of self denial, and so on. And not only one diligence, but our earnestness in our use of them, coming to the sacraments with right dispositions, with a real spiritual appetite.’
Lent 1921. Legenda Monastica.
If we miss this seed time of the year, later may come the cry: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”
Lent requires effort. There is a larger extent of foul land which has to be treated with methods requiring hard drudgery. The years of war, we begin to see, were times of exaltation as well as pain; seasons of loss and increase; we discovered in our daily life new conditions of restraint and freedom. Neither in those years nor in the succeeding days when we all were tired out, and some of us were ill-tempered and unreasonable, just as our health and nerves urged us, had we time or strength with which to clear our lands. To snatch some harvest was enough for most of us. In 1921 we must deliberately try to regain what we lost inevitably. Even if the times are hard – perhaps because they are hard – in itself Lent, 1921, must be kept more strictly. It must be Lent for Church people. We must feel it.
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Of course, no one has the right by foolishness and impudence to diminish the usefulness of brains and bodies in Christian service. Some people should recall the duty of fasting. None of us would wish that or clergy and those specially devoted to religion should break down avoidably. Hard work, sickness, and other real hindrances are real excuses for many of us – false for others. An old French servant once said: “Madame used to pray sometimes, and she inconvenienced every-body; now she prays always and inconveniences nobody.” But there are very few people today who annoy their neighbours by too great devotion, and many more who laugh kindly and contemptuously at any idea of even Sunday churchgoing.
We all know that the average person does not overdo churchgoing, nor does he usually say “How much may I do?” Is it not possible that we ought this Lent to revive the word must?
“How much must I do?” Whenever we are not feeling generous to God, or to man, it may be well to see whether we have left off being even just. The real test of whether we can do a religious action is whether we would do it, for fear or favour, for pleasure or for prudence, if it were an ordinary engagement or a promise to meet for pleasure. It is quite true that the family circle or that of the best friends often interferes with our worship or work when it would cheerfully put up with our pursuit of pleasure. It is for many of us part part of the discipline of Lent to be just brave enough on points like these.
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Discipline? We have nearly all forgotten that there is discipline in Church life; that we used to use the word “must.” Hedging and ditching, weeding and burning, is what we need. Out land is not looking “trim.” Our rule about churchgoing? As for preparation for and thanksgiving after Holy Communion? Bible reading, with as good devotional book as we can manage, and perhaps some real study? Our alms deeds, more hard than almsgiving? The division of our almsgiving? Perhaps service in the parish or on one of the new lines? Have we a real standard of right and wrong fit for today’s tests? There is much new work to be done. New needs are to be satisfied in parochial and civic life.
But it is our souls first that need to be rescued this Lent, so that they can think worthy and holy thoughts of God and His work in and through us. Many do need to go into the best substitute for a desert they can get. . . .
We try to pray adapting well known lines_
“Cold are the winds of nature now, and oh the blasts are keen,
The searching blasts of deep remorse for what our sins have been . . .
Dig deep, O soul, the ground on which the winter’s frost has lain,
That, deep within, the loving Lord, may sow some seed again . . ,
O Jesu! To our cold hard hearts mat penitence be given,
That we may sorrow unto Thee with many a secret tear,
Nor cast way the grace of Lent, the seed time of the year.”
When did these February events take place?
Can you select the right year from the list below:-
1301; 1570; 1587; 1659; 1688; 1730; 1782; 1797; 1804; 1863; 1897; 1926; 1958; 1971; 1975;
1:- Feb. 3rd. The London Daily Advertise printed the first stock exchange quotations.
2:- 4th. Malcolm Campbell sets a new land speed record of 174 mph in Wales.
3:- 5th. Parking meters first appeared in London Mayfair.
4:- 4th. The son of Edward1 became the first English Prince of Wales.
5:- 8th. Mary Queen of Scots is beheaded.
6:- 11th. Margaret Thatcher became the first woman leader of the English Conservative Party.
7:- 13th. A “Glorious Revolution” brings William of Orange and Mary(James II’s daughter) to the English throne after James II fled to France.
8:- 15th. Pennies, bobs and half-crowns disappear and Britain goes decimal.
9:- 16th. A cheque is used in England for the first time by Mr. Nicholas Vanacker.
10:- 19th. The Women’s Institute is founded in Ontario, Canada, by Mrs. Adelaide Hoodless.
11:- 21st. British engineer Richard Trevithick demonstrated the first steam train to run on lines.
12:- 22nd. Over 1,000 French troops attempting to invade Britain landed on Wales causing the Bank of England to print the first pound note on the 25th.
13:- 23rd. British explorers, John Speke and J A Grant found the R. Nile’s source was Lake Victoria.
14:- 25th. Queen Elizabeth 1 was excommunicated by Pope Pius V.
15:- 27th. The British Parliament voted to abandon the American War of Independence.
I am in a Bubble!
Fancy that! I thought a bubble did not last long but its been a long time now. I do not feel any different and my life seems the same. Now I have another problem to solve. What is my bubble?
Now let me think; it must be more than an almost transparent round object made by blowing air through soapy water. Those are small and round and suddenly burst. I hope that won’t happen to mine as I will get wet, and soapy, as well. Ugh!
But it’s not just me. Jake, my spaniel friend, is with me. How can that be? When we go our different ways does this thing split in two?
Let me see – this bubble must be something else. It must be as there are ‘bubbles’ all around which I cannot see. Where can I find out? I have seen people looking things up on a TV looking screen – I am not allowed to do that. Is there a book that I could use? Yes! There is one behind my favourite chair- I’ll get it now!
It says; ‘A bubble is a cavity in solid material or anything unreal or unsubstantial.’
Does that help? No! My problem has not been solved. How annoying. I hate being defeated.
I have had another thought. It seems to be a group of people/animals that can meet. We can do it, preferably outside, without breaking the ‘lock down’ regulations. At last I’m happy. Problem solved! Now back to sleep – snore, snore! Charlie.
The quarrel of the cat and dog.
According to a Jewish fairy tale, in the infancy of the world, the cat and the dog were the greatest of friends. They lived together, played together and shared each other’s food. It seemed that nothing could come between them.
Then winter came. The world grew cold and hard and food became scarce. Hunger made the dog melancholy, while the cat became peevish and petulant. Finally, thee cat proposed that since there was no longer enough food to be had for both of them, they should go their separate ways. She told the dog that she intended to go alone to the house of Adam to rid his house of mice.
The dog was deeply hurt, but the cat said solemnly, “We must take an oath never to cross the other’s path. That is the proper way to terminate a business agreement. The serpent says so, and he is the wisest of all the animals.”
The cat duly went to the house of Adam, and grew fat and comfortable, while the dog wandered over frozen ground, exhausted, starving and lonely, of use to neither wolf nor sheep. One night he came to a house and begged a morsel of food from the owner.. Later that evening he woke the man to warn him that wild animals were attacking his home. “Good dog,” said the man. “You are a wise animal. Stay with me always. You will find Father Adam kind.”
“Father Adam!” cried the dog, in alarm. “I must not stay here.”
“I say you must,”” answered Adam, and the dog was compelled to obey. In the morning, the cat learned that the dog had joined the household and she was very angry.
“The dog had violated our oath. He swore not to come to the place where I am,” she said.
“There is ample room for you both,” replied Adam. But the cat hissed and spat her disapproval, while the dog stood dejected, with his tail between his legs. As time went on, the dog could not bear it any longer.
“I must leave you, Father Adam,” he said. “The cat is making my life unbearable. I shall go to the house of Seth.”
“Are you sure you cannot make friends with the cat?” asked Adam.
“I would do so with pleasure, if she would let me, but alas she will not.”
“In that case,”, said Adam, “you will be quarrelling for ever.”
And ever since that time the cat and the dog have failed to agree.
Cat and dog owners.
Cat owners, according to psychologist David Greene, “tend to be independent, freedom loving individuals, self reliant and slightly aloof from the rest of humanity.” He also said that cat owners prefer “not to involve themselves too deeply in the lives of their fellows.”
Dog owners, on the other hand, “tend to be more dependent on others and want to involve themselves in the lives and problems of those around them.” Greene added, “They are more likely to be assertive and to confront problems head-on, standing their ground when challenged.”
Soldiers and presidents tend to be dog owners. Artists and writers tend to be cat owners. Cat lovers are more likely to be female. Cat haters tend to be males, specifically tyrants and dictatorial types.
(David Green is an American professor who became interested in the study of cats when he saw how pets influenced the behaviour of children.)
The Lenten Call.
The Voice of the Master. “Follow Me.” Through the days of desolation, Through the nights of sore distress, Through the fasting and temptation in the wilderness; Follow where I go before you, tread the path I trod alone, Not a shadow falleth o’er you, Which I have not known. Follow through the hours of trial, Keep your watch by Calvary’s Humbly after Me; So, My cup of pain partaking, Follow through the shades of night, Then when Easter dawn is breaking, Follow into light. A.R.G.
“I plead with you: never give up hope, never doubt, never tire, and never be discouraged. Be not afraid.” St. Pope John Paul II.
Not everything is cancelled; Spring is not cancelled, love is not cancelled, relationships are not cancelled, reading is not cancelled, naps are not cancelled, devotion is not cancelled, music is not cancelled, dancing is not cancelled, imagination is not cancelled, kindness is not cancelled, conversations are not cancelled. Hope is not cancelled. (Source unknown.)
Answers to the quiz:-