Sunday, February 1, 2015


In ancient Roman times, if you were a god or goddess, you probably had a festival named after you. It was just a thing, I guess. A way to hedge your bets to ensure no deity took offense and did disastrous things.

Februalia, oddly, isn't named after a deity. A god, Februus, did come along later, but the festival is what actually gave the month of February its name.

Februalia is a month long period of ritual purification. According to Wikipedia, the festival, "which is basically one of Spring washing or cleaning (associated also with the raininess of this time of year) is ancient, and possibly of Sabine origin. According to Ovid, Februare as a Latin word which refers to means of purification (particularly with washing or water) derives from an earlier Etruscan word referring to purging." The god Februus also happens to be a god of purification.

According to, "because of the association with fire as a method of purification, at some point the celebration of Februalia became associated with Vesta. Not only that, February 2 is also considered the day of Juno Februa, the mother of war god Mars. There is a reference to this purification holiday in Ovid's Fasti, in which he says, "In short, anything used to cleanse our bodies went by that name [of februa] in the time of our unshorn forefathers. The month is called after these things, because the Luperci purify the whole ground with strips of hide, which are their instruments of cleansing..."

There seems to be some debate about exactly when Februalia is. It starts either at the beginning, or the middle of February, and has come to be closely associated with and celebrated at Lupercalia, which falls on February 14. I rather like the idea of starting it on February 1. But that's just me.

Regardless, following right along with Imbolc and Disting, Februalia is a time to being preparations for the coming spring. So take time during this month to *purify* yourself. I am not a proponent of detox plans, but there is certainly nothing wrong with spending some time pampering yourself by taking time to care about yourself. In this month so closely associated with love, make sure you shower some of that love on yourself. Soak in a hot bath. Drink plenty of water. Meditate.

As part of the purification, thoroughly clean your kitchen and bathrooms. Take a hose to wash down your windows outside. Try every day to do something to clean a different area of the home. By the end of the month you will have made a huge difference, and when spring does roll around next month, your spring cleaning will go much easier.

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