Von Trapp Follow-Along: Maria describes Candlemas (2 February) in beautiful detail under “CANDLEMAS.” She also says quite a bit about the period between Epiphany (6 January) and Ash Wednesday (which is 18 February this year) under “CARNIVAL” and the Pre-Lent Season under “PRE-LENT.”
Depending on the date of Easter, which determines the date of Ash Wednesday, which determines the date of Septuagesima Sunday, February may be comprised entirely or very little of Pre-Lent and mostly or not at all of Lent commemoration. This year, Septuagesima Sunday, the first day of the Pre-Lent Season (or Carnival), happens to fall on February 1, so the entire month will involve Pre-Lent and Lent commemorations. Furthermore, Ordinary Time is considered to continue until the day before Ash Wednesday, which means there’s some overlap between Ordinary Time and Pre-Lent Season. In this case, Ordinary Time will continue through 17 February, Pre-Lent Season will run 1 February through 17 February, and Lent will start 18 February and continue through the rest of this month.
This year, February encompasses Ordinary Time, Pre-Lent Season and Carnival, and Lent Season.
Ordinary Time, as described before, stretches from the Monday after the Feast of the Baptism of Christ, which is the first Sunday after Epiphany (6 January) until Ash Wednesday. This year, that translates to 12 January through 17 February.
Pre-Lent Season starts on Septuagesima Sunday, which lasts 17 days, begins three Sundays before Ash Wednesday, and ends the day before Ash Wednesday (“Fat Tuesday” or “Mardi Gras”). The earliest it can begin is January 18 and the latest it can end is March 9. This year, it will be 1 February through 17 February.
Carnival may nearly match Ordinary Time (wherein it stretches from Epiphany until Ash Wednesday, so 6 January through 17 February this year), or perfectly matches the Pre-Lent Season (as described above, so 1 February through 17 February this year). The most traditional observance of Carnival exactly matched the Pre-Lent Season.
Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Thursday (the day before Good Friday, which is the Friday before Easter Sunday). This year, that’s 18 February through 2 April.
So for the month of February, we’ll be observing the continuation of Ordinary Time and, simultaneously, the entire Pre-Lent Season from 1 February through 17 February, and then Lent for the remainder of the month, 18 February through 28 February.
Carnival and Pre-Lent Season are a time of preparation for Lent. Looking forward to the solemnity, fasting, and abstinence of Lent, Christians see this as a time for celebration, for letting loose and enjoying themselves. Also during this time, they make any necessary preparations for Lent, such as preparing their Lent resolutions.
Lent is a period of instruction and penance, during which we fast and abstain in preparation for Easter and in remembrance of Jesus’ 40-day fast in preparation for His ministry. We recall the Fall, our sinfulness, and our need for a Savior. This prepares us for the celebration of Easter, the fulfillment of all our needs.
A list of items you will need for this month follows:
- Candles. (Required for Candlemas, 2 Feb.) For a family or small group project, you will need one candle for each member of the family/group, preferably a tall candle with paper collars to protect from dripping wax. If you will not be participating in any family or small group projects, you will simply need as many candles as you would like for décor.
- Ingredients for Valentine’s Foods. (Required for 14 Feb.) You may choose one of three recipes—or make all of them! In addition to the usual ingredients expected in baking (flour, sugar, vanilla, eggs, baking powder, baking soda, salt, etc.), the possibly unusual ingredients you may not have in your fridge or pantry follow. For Scones: dark brown sugar, coconut oil, Greek yogurt, sliced almonds, Grand Marnier liqueur (may substitute orange juice or orange juice concentrate plus orange extract), navel orange, confectioner’s sugar, orange juice. For Cookies: powdered sugar, almond extract, cream of tartar, icing. For Cake: almond paste, almond extract, whipping cream, powdered sugar, red food coloring or crème de almond liqueur.
- Shrovetide Party. (This event occurs between 14 Feb and 17 Feb.) The blog post for this event will be published the previous Thursday, but you will probably need to plan ahead even further. Plan to have a party—with church or small group or family or friends—on Shrove Tuesday. Traditionally, it runs until midnight because at the stroke of midnight, Lent begins, upon which time you can no longer dance, eat certain foods, or party. As an alternative, you may have the event on Shrove Saturday (14 February) instead, which is the Saturday before Shrove Tuesday, or on any other day in Shrovetide. A potential dramatic performance is offered at the end of this pdf, and other kids’ activities are offered throughout the rest of the same pdf. You may also need to plan a location and games and dances, etc. Depending on who you plan to do it with, your plans may need to be made a long time in advance, which is why I’m offering you this information now.
- Ingredients for Lenten Bread. (Required for any time between 18 Feb and 4 April.) These ingredients are usually just flour, water, and salt; however, you may either use your own Lenten bread recipe or the Dark Rye Bread recipe given by Maria Von Trapp in her book (https://www.ewtn.com/library/FAMILY/TRAPP.TXT) under “Lent.” Maria’s recipe involves several different kinds of flour that you might have to hunt for. You may use any recipe that does not use animal products such as milk or butter.
- Ingredients for Pretzels. (Required for any time between 18 Feb and 4 April.) You have the option of making your own (soft, doughy) pretzels or buying some, so either buy the pretzels or buy the ingredients for them.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
The calendar of events for February looks like this:
- 1-17: Ordinary Time, cont., and Pre-Lent Season
- 1: Septuagesima Sunday (first day of Pre-Lent Season)
- 2: Candlemas (a.k.a., Feast of the Presentation of the Lord)
- 6: Feast of Saint Paul Miki and Companions (JAPAN ONLY)
- 8: Sexagesima Sunday
- 14: Valentine’s Day
- 15: Quinquagesima Sunday or Shrove Sunday
- 18 Feb-2 April: Lent
- 18 Feb: Ash Wednesday
- 22 Feb – 1 Mar: Ember Week—Ember Days are 25 Feb (Wed), 27 Feb (Fri), and 28 Feb (Sat)
- 29: Feria (only on leap years, which means not this year)