Hello Readers! I hope you all enjoyed your weekend as much as I did. While our anniversary isn’t until tomorrow, my husband Ryan and I celebrated this weekend by dropping our son Sean off at his grandparents’ home Friday night, having a night to ourselves, and attending a bottomless Mimosa painting class Saturday morning. While I did cheat on my 21 Day Fix program again by having a mimosa (or three), we had a great time and enjoyed our celebration.
But that’s not what I want to talk about today. Today I want to focus on the upcoming month of February and give you some ideas about what to do with your family for this month. February is a wonderful time of the year! It’s the last cold month of the Winter season, and it’s such a short month that so much can be done in its days. It also holds a couple of fun holidays and it’s the last “playful” month before Lent begins. It’s also the month that most people stray from their Resolutions, if they haven’t done so already! Even though it’s still cold outside, let’s jump into a few of my favorite activities to do in the month of February.
To start with, I love going to museums and libraries in February. Even though these are open year round, this is a great time to get in and learn something new. Why not take your kids to story time at your local library? Or, you can always go check out the latest exhibit at the museum. This is a great way to get your kids excited about learning. Best of all, some of these events are free. Your local library, of course, is always free to the community. And most museums now offer a “free” day in which admission is free or at a reduced cost. For us, the second Saturday of every month is free. So, while it’s still too cold to go outside for long periods of time, these free activities are a great way to occupy your kids and get them out of the house.
Now, as for the holidays, there are a ton of holidays in February, and not all of them are unknown. Of course, we all know that the second day of the month is Groundhog Day. This is a wonderful time to teach your kids about weather and the old tale of Groundhog Day. Kids love it! The Superbowl game is on the fifth day of the month. Now, while you may not be a fan of the game or of the sport, this is still a good time to host or attend a party and socialize with friends and family. I, personally, am not a huge fan of American football. But my husband Ryan loves all sports, and my sister and her family are very much into football. So, we often attend their Superbowl party to socialize and catch up on each other’s lives. Believe it or not, but even my sister and I barely have a moment to call each other and catch up because she is a busy working mom. So, even if you aren’t a fan of the sport, attending a Superbowl party can be great fun for all.
Of course, we can’t talk about February events without discussing the most popular of them all: Valentine’s Day. Whether or not you believe that the holiday was created by greeting card companies, like my husband would love to believe, just know that its roots are in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a ceremony centered on fertility that occurred on February 15th. But, around 496, Pope Gelasius I declared that this pagan holiday would become a Christian feast on the 14th instead. So, this holiday does have ancient roots that extend further back than greeting card companies.
Still, if you want to avoid the candy rush or influx of sweets for your kids, why not plan a special game or event for them to celebrate the day? Maybe you can make them edible playdough to enjoy in the morning. Or, you can do a scavenger/treasure hunt in which the “treasure” can be toys and trinkets. You can even call it “St. Valentine’s treasure”. You can a craft with red paper and hearts, or you can have them make cards for family members. This is a wonderful holiday to celebrate with your kids, and it’s one of the few holidays in the coldest months that most people can enjoy. Make the most of it!
Now, after Valentine’s Day we have President’s Day on the 20th. If you have kids in school, they may have this day off. Aside from the sales, this is a great day to teach your children about our nation’s history and its past leaders. Maybe you can let them pick which president they would like to learn about and spend the day on Wikipedia learning about that president. Although Wikipedia isn’t considered an academically credible source for collegiate essays or papers, it’s still a valid source to learn from. And spending some time learning about our presidents can only help your children develop into brighter citizens of our country. And you might be surprised to learn more about our presidents and their pasts as well.
At the end of the month we also have Mardi Gras and Shrove Tuesday on the same day, February 28th. Now, Mardi Gras is about more than just beads and New Orleans. Mardi Gras is big in New Orleans because it’s a celebration of the French landing in Lousiana in 1699. However, this is due to its origin. Mardi Gras was once known as Carnival in Europe and it is tied to Lent. In ancient times, the Catholic church felt it would be easier to work with the pagan holidays than to completely abolish them, and so they incorporated the pagan traditions into the Catholic calendar by creating a day of debauchery and fun before Lent. This came to be called by many names, but the common ones are Carnival, Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, and Shrove Tuesday. Now, Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Day because it’s the traditional feast day before Lent. Historically, Anglo-Saxons would go to confession on the Tuesday before Lent to be “shriven” or washed of their sins. Hence the name.
So while the day does have a dark and lecherous past, the last day of the month can be redeemed for your family. First, explain the jist of Lent to your children–its purpose of sacrifice to represent the sacrifice given by Jesus–and ask them what they would be willing to give up, food wise, for Lent. Then, plan a big celebration with those foods incorporated as a Shrove Tuesday meal. Or, you can plan to do pancakes for breakfast that day as a nod to the Pancake Day celebration. Whatever you do, plan on doing something that sheds a different light on the holiday.
Finally, keep in mind that February is Black History Month and American Heart Month. Regardless of your politics, African Americans have made some very big contributions to our national history, and it’s important to teach your children about some of them. Why not research Martin Luther King, Jr., or Rosa Parks? As dark as the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s was, you can still explain why it is such an important part of our history. You can teach them about the Emancipation Proclamation, of the Underground Railroad, and of great historical figures like Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas, Sojourner Truth, and the other abolitionists and leaders of the time. Whatever you plan to do, however, I beg that you avoid politicizing it unless you absolutely know and understand the true politics of these movements. We already have too much hate and resentment between the two major political parties in this country, and we really need to work together on educating our next generation on equality and comradeship for all Americans, regardless of race, color, religion, politics, gender, or orientation. It’s the only way to heal our nation’s pain and move forward.
Anyway, I will get off my soapbox and say that this month is one that should be celebrated and enjoyed by all!
Until next time,