February, about love and what else?

March 2, 2024

Text: Alexandra Manea

Illustration: Delia Olaru

Certainly most of us associate the month of February with Valentine's Day or, on the contrary, we want a growing detachment from this habit. It is indeed quite syrupy to associate a month of the year with the month of love, but the most cynical would say that there is no specific time to show love to a partner or a loved one. Especially since, over time, everyone has built a different definition regarding love and its implications. In the Romanian tradition, Valentine's Day is called Dragobete, which is celebrated on February 24.

This article is on a mission to show you that February is not only about love but can have many other meanings depending on culture, traditions and customs.

First of all, let's see what is the etymology of the word February, as it has an interesting story behind it. It seems that the starting point of the word is in Februalia, which was a Roman festival aimed at purification. We therefore deduce that February would be a month of purification, on a more spiritual note. However, in American culture, February is one of the coldest months of the year, but we cannot anticipate this given the increasingly alarming climate change. February 12th is equally important to Americans as it is the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th US president, recognized for his moral implications regarding the abolition of slavery, for example. 

On February 15, 1820, Susan B. Anthony was born, a remarkable activist for women's rights and the feminist wave of the suffragettes. The month of February already seems to be no longer just about love, considering the fact that it dates the births of important historical figures for the political and social movements of the time, especially for the feminist one. 

It's more than nice to associate a moon with such a complex feeling as love, but I don't think it's the most important aspect to analyze. People are the ones through which things can be achieved, changes, revolutions aimed at changing a problematic situation into something better. "Be the change you wish to see in the world", Gandhi once said. It was precisely for this reason that I thought it necessary to mention Susan B. Anthony, since every action can count and significantly change the course of a movement that dates back and manifests itself today, in different forms. 

The urge would be to try to look at things more deeply and be more critical in thinking about the really important days in a month. Maybe if Susan hadn't had a say in her time, things would have turned out differently. 

Thus, let's give more importance to the people who may have marked history, in one form or another, and not necessarily to some holidays that, yes, can be more than nice, but which can take over everything by the fact that they already become clichés. 

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