Here in Britain there is a chill in the air and smatterings of snow pepper London and envelop the North of England. It is the coldest time of year and the buds and blossom of springtime seem light-years away. For now I’ll put on my favourite coat and enjoy the many events February has to offer and I’d like to run through the ones I am most looking forward to.
The month ‘kicked off’ with The Super Bowl in the USA in which the New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks. This is one of the most watched television broadcasts of the year. In 2015, Super Bowl XLIX became the most-watched American television program in history with an audience of 114.5 million viewers; this was the fifth time in six years the game had set a record. Unfortunately I was fast asleep but caught up the day after – what a game!
One of the major celebrations of the year that holds a special place in my heart is Valentine’s Day. It has been enjoyed in the UK and many other countries since the middle ages, but it is a rather new event in my home country Czech Republic where it wasn’t really known until after the Velvet Revolution in 1989. Czechs have traditionally celebrated their lovers on May 1st, commonly known as the “Day of Love”. In keeping with Czech superstitions, on that day it is believed couples should find a blossoming cherry tree to share a kiss under to ensure happiness and health and any single ladies out there should find someone to kiss or risk being alone for an entire year. Hopefully, now I am in the UK I will be swamped with roses, chocolates and cards on February 14th so I can embrace the opportunity for romance fully.
Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday is one of my favourite days. When else do you have a viable excuse to eat pancakes (I’m a lemon and sugar kind of girl) for dinner!? This year its falls on February 17th and I would like to talk a little bit about the history of the day. Like many celebration days it was originally a pagan holiday. Before the Christian era, the European people believed that the change of seasons was a struggle between Jarilo, the god of vegetation, fertility and springtime, and the evil spirits of cold and darkness. People believed that they had to help Jarilo fight against winter and bring in the spring. The most important part of Shrovetide week (the whole celebration of the arrival of spring lasted one week) was making and eating pancakes. The hot, round pancakes symbolized the sun. The Pagans believed that by eating pancakes, they got the power, light and warmth of the sun. I’m looking forward to trying to flip mine.
February 17th is celebrated a little more exuberantly in the USA in the form of Mardi Gras. Translated into English this literally means Fat Tuesday as it is traditionally a feast day like Shrove Tuesday. It has now transformed into something quite different. Popular practices on Mardi Gras include wearing masks and costumes, overturning social conventions, dancing, sports competitions, parades, and a substantial helping of debauchery thrown in. Although I hope to make the trip to New Orleans for it one day this time it’ll be a night in with pancakes for me.
We are a global company, with viewers of our webinars in many countries in the world, so we would like to wish everyone celebrating Chinese New Year on February 19th a very happy new year. 2015 is the Chinese year of the Goat – one of my favourite animals. People born in the year of the Goat are often among the most popular. Goats tend to be polite, loving, kind-hearted, gentle and calm, and can always be counted on when you need a friend. The goat is charming, and always elegant. I consider no coincidence that I was born in 1979; a previous year of the Goat!
Finally something a little closer to home I know a lot of people will be enjoying and that’s London Beer Week http://www.londonbeerweek.com/ from 16th – 22nd February. It’s a true celebration of craft beers, ales, lagers and ciders alike, set against the backdrop of the capital. With pop-ups and parties, tutored tastings, supper clubs, meet the maker evenings, product launches, masterclasses and self-guided Beer Tours around some of the best venues in the city – London Beer Week really has something for everyone. Now that dry January is over I’m sure many Londoners will indulge.
With all that crammed into the 4 short weeks of February it’s going to be a busy month! Whatever you celebrate and get up to I hope you have a great time. I’d like to end with a poem I composed in honour of Valentine’s Day:
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
While it’s cold outside,
We have webinars for you!