February is the month with the most festivities because it has four holidays. This happens almost every year, except when the Lunar New Year falls in January. For 2022, Feb 1st is the Lunar New Year; Feb 13th, The Super Bowl; Feb 14th Valentine’s day; Feb 21st, President’s Day.
Lunar New Year
According to Wikipedia, this is celebrated on the same day from Mongolia to Japan to Vietnam. I still remembered when I was young, I just stuffed myself with candies and roast peanuts and roast pork until I was so full that the smell of food would make me sick. Since we live on the border of the Mongolian steppe, we didn’t have fresh fruit or vegetables during the winter time. Decades ago when I was young, the transportation was quite inadequate and we ended up consuming potatoes and cabbages stored in the underground storage space for the whole winter. The locals pickled a lot of vegetables before winter comes–raddish, cabbage, tomato–but my parents were not local people and they didn’t know how to do those things. There’s one year, for some reason, we did join other families to do pickling together. That was really fun. I loved it when all the neighbors came together to chop vegetables, add salt. Several families would share one huge container that’s the size of a small kitchen. When all the vegetable was put in the container, men would jump in one at a time to stamp on them. To this day, whenever I see picked vegetables, I feel like somebody’s feet have stamped on it.
For a long time, I thought it is Super Ball. “Really? But ball and bowl are pronounced differently?” Someone would tell me this before I could confess that the two words sound the same to me. No matter how many times I listen to them, I can’t tell the difference. Either my ears are genetically defective or other people are lying to me about the two being pronounced differently. Those are the two simplest explanations, but we all know that life is more complicated than that.
Super Bowl is an occasion to learn a little bit about Roman numerals. The current Super Bowl has a number of LVI and google says it means 56. It is easier to understand 56 than to understand 49. I guess math was not a strong point for Romans since their numbers are quite confusing. How could they do simple arithmetic with such a complicated notation system?
Super Bowl is also an occasion to learn words like scrimmage, fumble, tackle, gridiron. I still don’t understand the meaning of scrimmage in American football, but I fully understand that the word scrimmage is a struggle in a confused situation. And the fighting between the two teams to get the ball is very much a confused struggle.
I did a Valentine’s Day post last year here.
Many years ago, I went to the township of Cranbury, New Jersey, with a friend for some reason, which I cannot remember. It’s in Cranbury’s post office or the antique shop or the fire department or the branch office of a bank, where I saw a plaque that says George Washington and his soldiers once stationed here when he was fighting the revolutionary war. That’s so fascinating. History is living with us. I came back home and looked up George Washington and it is said in Washington’s army, a big portion didn’t speak English and a big portion had never fired a gun and a big portion brought their own horses and even their family with them when they joined the army. I was so inspired. See, not speaking English didn’t prevent them from winning the war.
I learned about Lincoln through the book “Lincoln” by Gore Vidal. It’s a very interesting book. I still remember the boy governor of Rhode Island, who had to fight the war while rescuing his family owned textile factory from bankruptcy due to the war time blockade.
Theodore Roosevelt is portrayed in “Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt’s Doomed Quest to Clean up Sin-loving New York” by Richard Zacks. It’s a fun book to read.