Kids’ Craic: Fantastic February
by Dottie Wenger
The holiday season may have ended, but if you’re visiting the Emerald Isle, there are plenty of noteworthy dates in February:
February 1st is the Feast Day of St. Brigid of Kildare
The Irish note this day as the beginning of spring, as it falls halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Brigid was an early Christian nun and a founder of many convents. Although Brigid is one of Ireland’s patron saints, her special day is observed as far away from Ireland as Australia and New Zealand.
This design is called a St. Brigid’s Cross. It’s often made with straw, and is thought to keep evil, fire and hunger from the home in which it is displayed.
February 14th is Valentine’s Day
This is celebrated much the same way in Ireland as it is here in the United States. But there are some Valentine highlights specific to Ireland. In Dublin, for example, tourists can visit the shrine to St. Valentine at the Carmelite Whitefriar Street Church, where the saint was laid to rest.
They can also take a stroll down a Dublin street called Love Lane, where romantic quotes are written on the wall. And in the Tannaghmore Gardens in County Armagh, there is the famous “Kissing Gate.” Legend states that couples who kiss over the gate will get married within a year! It’s also a popular spot for wedding photos.
2020 is a Leap Year, and Leap Day is recognized on February 29th. A leap year occurs every four years, when there are 366 days in the calendar year instead of 365. This has to do with the earth and the sun: it takes Earth 365 days to make a complete orbit around the Sun.
We call this a solar year. The solar year should line up with our calendar, but since it’s not exactly lined up, we have leap year to make things neat and tidy.
Fun Facts about Leap Year:
- Sometimes babies born on Leap Day are called Leaplings (and on years when February 29th is not on the calendar, they can choose to celebrate on February 28th or on March 1st… how cool is THAT?
- The U.S. Presidential Elections and the Summer Olympics happen during Leap Years.
- An Irish custom is for women to propose to their men on Leap Day. |
Go take a leap! Have a contest with your friends or family to see who can jump the farthest. How about a jump rope competition?