Friday, January 29, 2010


Before they converted to Christianity and adopted the Roman calendar, the early English (‘Anglo-Saxons’) used a calendar based on the cycles of the sun and the moon. February was known as Solmonað. According to Bede, the name comes from the cakes which they offered to their gods in that month. However, the word sol is not used in any Anglo-Saxon source to mean 'cake'. It's most common meaning is, in fact, 'mud'. Two possibilities arise. Either the kind of cake offered was called 'mud' due to its colour or texture, or, more plausibly (to those familiar with the English climate), February was simply known as 'Mudmonth'.

Month of the Pearl
In Finnish the month is called helmikuu, meaning "month of the pearl"; a beautiful name describing when snow melts on tree branches, it forms droplets, and as these freeze again, they are like pearls of ice.

Fire and Ice.
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
Robert Frost

photo: grethe bachmann

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