February Is Her Name
There is a girl named February—probably the only person on earth named such. However, she wants to be called Febe, instead of February.
Nobody knew her real name, except her parents and close relatives, of course. But now, add to the list her grade school principal, who had read her birth certificate.
“Why don’t you want to be called February?” she asked.
“Because I wasn’t born in February! I was born in November.”
“Would you rather be called November, then?” the principal smiled.
“Yes,” she said. “But Febe is okay.”
Febe was named February because her parents met on February 14, Valentine’s day. It was a special day, so they named their first-born after this special month.
Every February 14 (exactly four days from now), in many parts of the world, flowers, cards, gifts, and other goodies are exchanged between and among loved ones, in the name of St. Valentine.
You probably know the legend, but let me tell you anyway. Long, long ago, Valentine, a priest of Rome, was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire.
In jail, Valentine healed the daughter of his jailer. Before he was executed, he wrote his jailer’s daughter a letter signed "Your Valentine" as a farewell.
Just like Valentine’s Day, the name February has many legends and myths on how it came to be. But in truth, the word February comes from the Latin word februa, meaning “to cleanse.” This was a Roman festival of purification or Februalia. It was a month when people were ritually washed to be forgiven of their sins.
As of this writing, people are already busy shopping or planning parties. On the 14th, restaurants will be filled, flower shops will sell a lot of flowers, and chocolates in red packaging will flood the stores. Valentine Cards will be sent via email or on social media.
“Everybody celebrates your name!” Febe’s school principal said when the calendar hit February.
“But it is not my birthday!” Febe insisted.
“My name is Doreen and nobody celebrates it,” the principal explained. “You’re blessed to have a name that is celebrated by everyone. Thank God for this grace."
After a brief pause, Febe declared, “My name is February!”
(Adapted from my column “Big Little People” published in The Freeman on February 8, 2015.)
Photo credit: http://www.sensfoundation.com/