The winter is whizzing by and soon we will be going through the month of February which has several very special days in it, the first of which is one of my favorites “Groundhog Day”. Most of us in the more mature age group have seen the movie with that name “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray. I have in my bucket list to be in Punxsutawney Pa. on February 2 of some year in the not too distant future and probably staying at a bed and breakfast, since I would have to be at the place where Pux Phil comes out at around 6am. I guess since the first time I heard about Groundhog Day. I have been fascinated by the idea that this animal comes out of his burrow on the morning of Feb. 2 and depending on whether he sees his shadow or not predicts whether we will have 6 more weeks of winter or an early spring! I like the idea that such a big deal is made of it. The movie served to intensify that curiosity. It seems like the kid in me will always be alive and well, even if I am on my deathbed! Now this article is being written in late January but probably won’t get into the magazine until sometime in February. The discussion about Punxsutawney phil could go on and on because it’s a very interesting and fun subject however there is more to talk about in the month of February. During this month we have Lincoln’s birthday, Washington’s birthday, Fat Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, and last but not least St.Valentines day.

We can be very grateful that we had a first president like George Washington who helped form the foundation of the greatest country on earth, America. The reason for this country’s success is that it was founded on Judeo Christian principles which state that our rights of pursuing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness come from our creator not the government! It also states that all men are created equal. This doesn’t mean literally but that each person born has a right to pursue everything and anything in this world and its societies as much as the next person. It means that no one has exclusive rights.

The other president’s birthday that is in this month is Abraham Lincoln who was another of our greatest presidents. Now Lincoln had a difficult Presidency for sure. He was President during the Civil War which was one of the most bloody and costly in terms of lives lost. The war centered on several issues most of which was the matter of slavery. It was particularly heart wrenching since it pitted brother against brother, and father against son, and family against family. When the war was over it ended slavery but at a very high cost. As we all know Lincoln was assassinated. Our nation needed a great deal 0f healing at that time

Another day that is celebrated in February is Fat Tuesday which is also known as Mardi Gras which is the events of the carnival celebration beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday. It is celebrated in all of Louisiana but mainly in New Orleans.

Most of us Christians know Ash Wednesday well especially Catholics. I can remember being in Grammar school (was it called that back in the 18th century art?)  (Now known as elementary school) when I would see    a lot of kids with this black spot on the forehead! I couldn’t understand why they had to get that and then keep it on all day. Those that didn’t get the ashes in the morning had to get them at night. I never did know when it was permissible to wash it off. More recently Protestants have started doing the ashes on Ash Wednesday and many denominations have a service on Ash Wednesday with the ashes being put on the parishioner’s foreheads as do the Catholics.

Contributor – Art Kuhl