minima maxima sunt

The Small things are the Great things; as in a grain of mustard seed.

Archive for the tag “February”

February and March

February calendar went a little better. Still had a few mistakes but didn’t need to patch anything like I did in January.

I tried a few different styles in February. The first page I tried to follow the look of a Flemish Book of Hours. Focus on objects shadowed to allow them to pop out of the page. Flemish book of hours often used natural objects like flowers, plants, vegetables and even animals like fish shadowed on a flat color background.

The second half I tried at a more Celtic approach. Found a design n the web that I thought would fit in the side panel and went from there.  I also took a different approach to applying the gold foil to keep it more flat and avoid the embossed look I ended up with in January.  Because the paper is rough I still don’t get a smooth shine but I am satisfied with what I get here.

March went even better than February, still working on the calligraphy, and seems I always get one date wrong and have to redo. Regardless, I felt much more at ease completing March as the process is becoming familiar.

The pictures this month were inspired by art I saw while in Mexico recently. The suite at the resort we stayed at was right on a pond with fish, turtles, frogs and iguana. I suppose this is the first month where I had a theme that seems consistent. January was just doodling, February had oak leaves timing it together, but March is all about the fish pond.

So a little about the calendar. A book of hours started with a calendar noting the various feasts and memorials of the church. Seems like there was always a day around the corner to remember, celebrate and maybe even prepare a special meal for. There are letters next to the calendar days which allowed the calendar to function as a perpetual calendar. These are dominical letters. A simple but brilliant idea. By adding these letters, from a to g for the days of the week, a person only needed to know what letter aligned with Sunday for the year they were in, then the rest of the letters would follow and they could know which weekdays each date corresponded to. For instance if Sunday (Domingo) this year aligns with “c” then every date with a “c” next to it is a Sunday for this year. That means that “d” will note Monday’s and so on.


March from Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry

March was originally the first month of the year in the Roman calendar. It gets it’s name from the Roman god Mars who was the god of war. Mars was not only a Roman god but also a name for a planet. Now the Romans used planets for the days of the week, and Mars is also found to be the third day of the week; dies martius, which is Tuesday, and is still used in some languages to this day, for instance Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday and in the Spanish language Tuesday is called Martes.

March was when spring would begin to break as winter came to an end which is why it was originally the beginning of the Roman year. In the scene from Les Très Riches above, we see fields being prepared for planting, trees without foliage and a dragon on top of the castle; the Chateau de Lusignan, that seems to be blowing the grey clouds of winter back. The Focus of the scene is on one of the great inventions of the early middle ages, the heavy plough. In use from the 5th century in the west, these ploughs allowed more land to be tilled in a more effective manner. This would increase the ability to cultivate and grow food and as a result helped to increase the population.

The penitential season of Lent would usually fill up the month of March. In earlier times other names were used for the 40 days before Easter, but in the middle ages the English word for spring, (Lent) was adopted.

March 21 is the Spring Equinox which is officially the beginning of Spring. It occurs when the Sun is directly over the equator and as a result the daylight and nighttime hours are equal. Equinox comes from two latin words, aequus (equal) and nox (night).

I remember growing up in New Jersey, that we would have Spring Break near the end of March and right around the Equinox. Snow would be melting but we would be outside playing in T-shirts because it was so warm. You could smell the earth in the air, as frozen ground began to loosen.

Feasts from the General Roman Calendar for the month of March are:

3. Katharine Drexel (USA), Opt. Mem.
4. Second Sunday of Lent, Sunday
7. Perpetua and Felicity, Memorial
8. John of God, Opt. Mem.
9. Frances of Rome; St. John Ogilvie (Scotland), Opt. Mem.
11. Third Sunday of Lent, Sunday
17. Patrick, Opt. Mem.
18. Fourth Sunday of Lent, Sunday
19. Joseph, husband of Mary, Solemnity
23. Turibio de Mogrovejo, Opt. Mem.
25. Fifth Sunday of Lent, Sunday
26. Annunciation of the Lord, Solemnity

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