The February Fast
Tomorrow is our February Eve celebration. It’s easy enough to call it Imbolc if you like because it’s similar. But a little different. Now I have heard that Samhain is the Witches New Year, but this is not true for our family. We celebrate the Feast of the Dead then but February Eve is our New Year. (I would like to say we do it at the lunar New Year every year, but it’s not always the case.) What February Eve represents to us is the start of our recovery from Midwinter madness in preparation for the new beginnings of the Spring Equinox of March. February Eve tends to be one of my favorite festivals because it is somewhat cathartic and brings me a great deal of relief after an inevitably hard winter. Winter is not my season. Granted, there’s still quite a bit more winter to go but it still helps.
Our celebration is probably pretty similar to the Imbolc celebration, but it goes on for much longer. You see, we begin with the Feast and we continue through the month.
We celebrate February Eve on the weekend closest to the start of the month with a potluck feast and bonfire. Everyone brings something made from milk or something made from their winter food stores (beans, smoked meats, canned foods, etc.) The menu usually includes: Fresh brown bread, chili or pork and beans, macaroni & cheese, custard, ham, stewed dried fruit & dumplings.
Sitting around the fire, maybe with drums, we pass around an old broomstick and tell it all of the things we’ve had to deal with in the past year that we wish to throw away and get out of our lives. We might also bring other objects to attach to it, like bills, or images of people we would like out of our lives or other images representing those things we need to get rid of. At the end of the circuit, the broomstick is thrown into the fire and destroyed along with the solar crosses we made last year. A new broomstick is consecrated.
The tossing away of old crap is celebrated with feasting, dancing and drumming.
Now, for the month of February, we fast. It’s not the “don’t eat anything” fast, though that can be incorporated into it. We fast to purify our whole lives. So nothing new is brought into the house. We buy nothing and we spend no money (except those bills we have to pay on a regular basis). We spend the month going room by room and giving it a good deep clean and packing up all the crap we don’t need to ship off to Salvation Army. We go through our budget and decide what expenses we can cut out. In short, we get rid of the old and make way for the new.
As part of this year’s February Fast, I will also not be adding anything new to my websites. Instead, my daily web work will consist of reviewing what’s already been done and making it better. That includes this blog. I have tons of stuff in drafts that I haven’t finished and posted. As part of my February Fast project I will be finishing and posting some of those and deleting those that will go no nowhere. Nothing new. Out with the old to make way for the new!