Leap Day, on February 29, has been a day of traditions, folklore and superstitions for over 2000 years. The best known of which is the tradition that women may propose marriage to their men.
There’s an Irish legend that St Brigid made a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men every four years. In the same way that the extra day balances the calendar and time, this reversal balances the traditional roles of men and women in the marriage ritual.
Leap day is also known as “Bachelors’ Day”. If a man refuses a proposal on 29th February, he is expected to pay a penalty, which could range from a kiss, right through to a silk dress or, most commonly, a pair of gloves. During the middle ages there were even laws in some European countries governing this tradition!
Other Leap Day Facts
People born on February 29 are entitled to join Society of Leap Year Day Babies.
The Guinness Book of Records has a World Record Holders of a family producing three consecutive generations born on February 29 and another of the number of children born on February 29 in the same family.
St Oswald’s Day
Leap day is also St Oswald’s Day. He was an archbishop of York who died on February 29, 992. His festival is celebrated in the church on February 29 during leap years and on February 28 during other years
So are you thinking of popping the big question to your man on February 29th?
Really, if you’re going to propose, you’re probably equally up for proposing on any day. But before you drop it out of the blue, consider whether you have talked about marriage with your partner? If you’re not sure whether you’re both ready, you may be best to wait. However you could use February 29th as a time to talk to your partner about the future.
Once you’re sure, there are lots of reasons for you to take charge. Maybe he lacks confidence and would never build up the courage to do it himself. Maybe he’d just love to be asked. However, it’s probably best to propose in private rather than go down on one knee in a packed nightclub or restaurant.
The actual proposal will probably be best if it can be a bit light-hearted, fun and flirtatious. You could try making a sign saying, “Will you marry me?” and hanging it on a tree in a favourite spot. Don’t worry about the rings. You can go shopping together later. As the leap day corrects the discrepancy between the calendar year (365 days) and the time it takes for the earth to complete one orbit of the sun (365 days and 6 hours), it was an opportunity for women to correct a tradition that was one-sided and unfair.
Mothers Day is only about 100 years old. It started in the USA in the early 1900s. However, it draws on far older traditions.
The earliest history of Mothers’ Day dates back to the ancient annual spring festival the Greeks dedicated to maternal goddesses. The Greeks used the occasion to honour Rhea, wife of Cronus and the mother of many deities of Greek mythology.
2. Mothers Day and Mothering Sunday
Mother’s Day in the UK is traditionally celebrated on the 4th Sunday of Lent, as a Christian holiday. However, Mother’s Day is not actually related to the Christian Mothering Sunday celebration.
Most Sundays in the year churchgoers in England worship at their nearest parish or ‘daughter church’.
Centuries ago it was considered important for people to return to their home or ‘mother’ church once a year. So each year in the middle of Lent, everyone would visit their ‘mother’ church – the main church or cathedral of the area.
Inevitably the return to the ‘mother’ church became an occasion for family reunions when children who were working away returned home. (It was quite common in those days for children to leave home for work once they were ten years old.)
And most historians think that it was the return to the ‘Mother’ church which led to the tradition of children, particularly those working as domestic servants, or as apprentices, being given the day off to visit their mother and family.
As they walked along the country lanes, children would pick wild flowers or violets to take to church or give to their mother as a small gift.
3. 69 Babies
The greatest officially recorded number of children born to one mother is 69, to the wife of Feodor Vassilyev (b. 1707–c.1782), a peasant from Shuya, Russia. In 27 confinements she gave birth to 16 pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets and four sets of quadruplets.
4. 73 year-old mum
Mrs Steve Pace, of Rose Hill, Virginia, is reported have given birth to her 17th child, a boy, in 1939, at the extreme age of 73. She was then already mother of 16 children, the last of whom was born twenty-three years earlier.
5. John Lennon’s Song
John Lennon’s song “Mother” first released on his 1970 album “John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band”. The song is a tribute to his own mother, Julia, who was killed in a car accident on 15 July 1958, before the Beatles became famous.
6. Traditional Gifts
Mother’s Day gifts are a tradition to show Mum how much she’s valued and appreciated. Traditionally Mother’s Day gifts included flowers and a Simnel cake. The flowers were picked by the workers on the way home from work for a day with their mum; they’d pick wild flowers from the country lanes. It is still a tradition today to spoil mum with a stunning colourful bouquet of flowers, as well as more modern gifts such as perfume, clothes or jewellery.
6 Mothers Day Jewellery Gifts
Your mum will love one of these fantastic gifts that show her how much she’s loved and appreciated.
We’re featuring the Ankh Charm in jewellery in this post. A while ago, we tried to write about a “Charm of the Week”, but although we have featured Angels, Sheep and Om charms. we never managed to make it a weekly post. But we have dozens of charms that we’d like to tell you about. So we’re going to have a go at occasional posts about charms as well as the other topics that you’ll find here on our blog.
Like many popular icons of modern times, the Ankh has its origins in Ancient Egypt. It is a recognised hieroglyph that means “life” and is often seen in the hands of Egyptian gods on tombs and temple carvings.
In its earliest representations, it appears to have been an elaborate bow or knot, although it could also have a sexual meaning or even be a representation of a sandal strap. It certainly had a religious significance.
Its popularity in Ancient Egypt is clear from everyday objects which were ankh- shaped. A gilded mirror in the shape of an ankh was found in Tutankhamun’s tomb (and the word ankh also means “mirror”, so here is an ancient play on words!) Other objects such as spoons were also made in this shape.
Although it predates Christianity, it’s shape is so similar to the cross that Christians, and especially Coptic Christianity, has adopted it as the crux ansata, the handled or “eyed” cross.
February 8th is the Chinese New Year and the words above say “Happy New Year” in Simplified Chinese and are also spelled out phonetically as they sound.
Today sees the start of the Year of the Monkey.
The new year, also known as the Spring Festival, is marked by the lunisolar Chinese calendar, so the date changes from year to year.
The festivities usually start the day before the New Year and continue until the Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the new year.
Each Chinese New Year is characterised by one of 12 animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac. This year it’s the Year of the Monkey, the ninth animal in the cycle. The next Year of the Monkey will be in 2028.
The full list is:
In the LoveTaliesin team,Sue was born in the year of the Rabbit and Dave’s from the Year of the Dragon.
People born in the Year of the Monkey are characterised as quick-witted, curious, innovative and mischievous, but it is also believed to be one of the most unlucky years in the Chinese calendar.
LoveTaliesin Jewellery for Year Of The Monkey
We’ve added some playful monkey charm jewellery to our collection as we celebrate the start of the year of the Monkey. You can see these on our stall at craft fairs and events and you can buy them here, on our website.
The 14th February is Valentines Day when we celebrate our love for someone. Here are six things that you might not know about Valentine’s Day and St Valentine.
It started with the Romans
Valentines Day goes back to the Roman Empire and Emperor Claudius II. He wanted more soldiers for the Roman army, but lots of men refused to leave their wives and families. So the Emperor decided that the solution was to ban all marriages.
However, a very popular priest in Rome thought that this was unfair and started to marry couples in secret. Eventually, Claudius II found out about these secret marriages and was furious. He ordered that Valentine should be thrown into jail, where he eventually died on February 14th. His friends hadn’t forgotten him and they made sure that he was buried in a churchyard in Rome.
The Parliament of Fowls was probably written sometime in the late-1370′s to the late 1380′s. This contains the earliest known reference to “Saint Valentine’s Day” as an occasion for romance.
[…] ther sat a quene That, as of light the somer-sonne shene Passeth the sterre, right so over mesure She fairer was than any creature.And in a launde, upon an hille of floures, Was set this noble goddesse Nature; Of braunches were hir halles and hir boures, Y-wrought after hir craft and hir mesure; Ne ther nas foul that cometh of engendrure, That they ne were prest in hir presence, To take hir doom and yeve hir audience.
For this was on seynt Valentynes day, Whan every foul cometh ther to chese his make,
This translates into modern English as:
There sat a queen who was more lovely by far than any other creature, just as the summer sun outshines the stars. This noble goddess Nature sat enthroned in a pavilion she had wrought of branches upon a flowered hill atop a meadow. And there was not any bird born of love that was not ready in her presence to hear her and receive her judgment. For this was Saint Valentine’s Day, when all the birds of every kind that men can imagine come to choose their mates.
However, it is fairly certain that the church celebrated the Feast of St. Valentine before Chaucer wrote this.
The origin of Valentine’s day cards lie in letters and poems. The tradition of sending poems to a love on Valentine’s day was started by a French nobleman, Charles Duke Of Orleans around 1415, who was taken prisoner during the Battle Of Agincourt. He sent love poems to his wife back in France each year.
The 14th February became associated with love in the Middle Ages, especially through the writer Geoffrey Chaucer.
It took almost 200 more years for commercial Valentine cards to make an appearance in 1800. These also started with just poems, but it wasn’t long before artwork was added to give more romance.
How Did Our Blood Pump Become The Icon For Valentines Day and Love?
It may well all be the fault of a North African plant. As far back as the seventh century B.C., there was a profitable trade in a plant called Silphium. Among other uses, Silphium was reputed to provide a form of birth control. The Silphium plant was so important that Cyreneian coins depicted the plant’s seed pod, which looks like the heart shape we know today.
It is said that the heart shape of this seed pod first became associated with sex, and eventually, with love.
By the 17th Century, Saint Margaret Mary Alocoque had a vision of it surrounded by thorns. This symbol became known as the Sacred Heart of Jesus and was associated with love and devotion.
Before the medical profession disavowed the world, it was generally believed that the heart was the seat of all human emotions and feelings. So the gift of a heart represented the giving of everything to someone you love. This ancient belief has lingered on through the ages.
Cupid, draw back your bow And let your arrow flow Straight to my lovers heart
Cupid’s arrows come in two varieties:
The Golden Arrow, which generally signifies true love
The Leaden Arrow, which represents wanton and sensual passion.
He is sometimes portrayed with a torch with which to inflame desire between men and women.He is often described a mischievous because his interference doesn’t always have happy consequences.
Cherubs are also believed to be descendants of Cupid. Depicted as loveable little winged creatures, but without the use of arrows.
Love Is Only Chemicals
Biologically, love is a powerful neurological condition like hunger or thirst, only more permanent. We talk about love being blind or unconditional, in the sense that we have no control over it. But then, that is not so surprising since love is basically chemistry. While lust is a temporary passionate sexual desire involving the increased release of chemicals such as testosterone and oestrogen, in true love, or attachment and bonding, the brain can release a whole set of chemicals: pheromones, dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin and vasopressin. However, from an evolutionary perspective, love can be viewed as a survival tool – a mechanism we have evolved to promote long-term relationships, mutual defence and parental support of children and to promote feelings of safety and security.
Written by Jim Al-Khalili – a theoretical physicist and science writer
If you’re looking for a gift for someone born in February, consider the February Birthstone, Amethyst. It is a fairly common stone hand has been used in jewellery since the Ancient Egyptians.
Amethyst is quartz crystal in shades of purple, lilac or mauve. It is a stone that traditionally guards against drunkeness! The word amethyst is from Greek and means “without drunkenness”. It is also said that it can protect from poison.
The ancient Greeks and Romans believed Amethyst would ward off the intoxicating powers of Bacchus, and keep the wearer clear headed and quick-witted. For centuries, Amethyst has been associated with many myths and legends as well as religions in numerous cultures.
Properties of Amethyst
As well as providing us with some stunning jewellery, there are lots of people with strong beliefs in the mystical and spiritual properties of Amethyst.
Among it’s many properties, Amethyst is said to help insomnia. Put an amethyst under your pillow to bring about pleasant dreams, or rub it across your forehead to offer relief from a headache.
The ancient Egyptians used Amethyst to guard against guilty and fearful feelings. It has also been worn as protection from self-deception, as well as a protection against witchcraft. Amethyst has a long history of being used to open the spiritual and psychic centres. It is also used as a meditation aid when worn as a necklace.
Some people within the spiritual community believe that Amethyst is the perfect stone to symbolize The Age of Aquarius.
The Bishop’s Stone
Amethyst is also the Bishop’s Stone and worn by Catholic Bishops to this day. In this use, Amethyst is a symbol of piety, humility, sincerity and spiritual wisdom.
Amethyst for Healing
You will often see healers wearing several pieces of Amethyst jewellery, especially an Amethyst necklace set in silver. This is said to focus energy. The person receiving the healing may also have an Amethyst to hold during the healing
February Birthstone From LoveTaliesin Jewellery
You can see an ever changing selection of semi-precious jewellery set in 925 silver on our craft fair and sales stalls. See our calendar page to find out where we are going to be.
Our semi-precious jewellery range includes some stunning hand-made Amethyst pieces.
You can also find the February Birthstone in our Swarovski Crystal Elements range on the stall and here on the website. The deep purple colour known as Heliotrope is a great match for the darker Amethyst colours.