February is packed with reasons to be joyful
FEB. 13, 2020...Bundles of different kinds of flowers displayed at a flower shop in Dangwa, Sampaloc Manila ahead of the Valentine’s day celebration.
Edd Gumban

February is packed with reasons to be joyful

RAZZLE-DAZA - Pat-P Daza (The Philippine Star) - February 1, 2021 - 12:00am

Can you believe it’s already the first day of February? Just like that, the 31 days of January have passed like a blur. It seems like only days ago when I began putting away my Christmas decor, hiding the remnants of the holiday season and consuming the food that came with it as gifts.

It’s now the second month of the year, but there’s no indication as to when Metro Manila will be placed under Moderate General Community Quarantine (MGCQ), or when the pandemic will be over. Domestic travel is still restricted while international leisure travel is almost out of the question. Hopefully, with vaccines available in the international market, the Philippines will have access to them and we will slowly be able to return to normal and get our lives back.

Meanwhile, I realized that even if February 2021 has only 28 days, it has quite a number of holidays and special days. Chinese New Year is on Feb. 12, and it’s been declared a holiday. And because Feb. 12 is a Friday, it will be a long weekend. Because this is the Year of the Metal Ox, they say it will be oks (pun intended).

Of course, February is also known as the love month, and this year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday. Considering how challenging it will be for lovers to celebrate during a pandemic, may I suggest that they consider eating at home rather than dining out? Nothing beats a special, home-cooked meal that’s prepared with love.

If you don’t know how to cook, don’t fret. Thanks to the many food delivery services available, you just need to be creative and remember that presentation is key. You might have prepared the most sumptuous meal, but if the ambience is wrong, the romantic mood will be ruined. How about dinner under the stars? Just lay a picnic mat in the garden or have dinner al fresco style. Even breakfast in bed sounds delicious, don’t you think? If you don’t live with your special someone and an in-person date is not possible, one of you can cook the meal and have it delivered to the other. An e-date via Zoom or Facetime can then follow.

Three days after Feb. 14 is Ash Wednesday, which for Catholics is the start of the 40-day Lenten season. And though it is not a holy day of obligation, Catholics are encouraged to hear Mass and get “ashed” on their foreheads. Bear in mind too that Catholics are reminded to fast, which means consuming only one full meal and two smaller meals during the day and abstaining from eating meat. To many devout Catholics I know, this is also a period to sacrifice or give up something in exchange for a prayer petition. Some give up hard drinks, while others cut down on their soda, rice or sweets intake. During Lent, it won’t hurt if all of us Catholics pray extra hard for the total eradication of COVID-19.

Lastly, Feb. 25 marks the 35th anniversary of People Power — another special, non-working holiday. This day is special to many Filipinos as they remember the peaceful revolution that ousted former Pres. Ferdinand Marcos and catapulted Ninoy Aquino’s widow, Corazon Aquino, to become the first female president of the Republic of the Philippines.

Considering it’s only 28 days long, this month is quite packed with reasons to be joyful and grateful. However you spend February’s occasions and holidays, do try to devote some time thinking about their significance even as you celebrate and commemorate them safely with your loved ones.

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