The Ancient Roman Rites that Gave Their Name to February: Explore the Forgotten Connection

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pine branches with snow on themThis month continues the series Longfellow called The Poet’s Calendar, written mostly in 1880. While writing about the days of February, he refers to something you might not have read: a six-book Latin poem on months and days by Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso) “published” in the year 8. This source tells more about the seasonal custom of purifying the earth and how pine branches were involved in the ancient, pre-Roman ritual that gave this month its name.


I am lustration, and the sea is mine!
I wash the sands and headlands with my tide;
My brow is crowned with branches of the pine; Read more