Not that I really need an excuse, but February used to be known as Cake Month in Anglo-Saxon times and to honour that, I eat cake. Quite a lot of it actually.
February also happens to be the month when I celebrate my birthday, my sister's birthday, mother-in-law's birthday, great-nephews' birthdays, niece's birthday, several friends' birthdays, Valentine's Day, my parents' wedding anniversary and my cat's birthday.
That is an awful lot of cake I have to get through.
According to Bede in his book the lunar month that corresponds to our February (Solmonath) was the time when cakes were offered to the old gods. What the criteria for 'cake' was I'm not too sure though. Definitely not chocolate birthday cake. It was probably more like a flapjack, made with oats and flavoured with honey, apples, berries and spices for those who could afford them.
However, Bede is on his own when he claims that the name of the month was 'Cake' month. Evidence suggests that the word 'sol' (as in 'Solmonath') actually means 'mud' and not 'cake', certainly not in the way we understand it. Perhaps the cakes were brown and resembled mud and that's where the name came from. Then again, this is England and today is one very muddy February day so maybe February was known as 'Mud Month'. Makes sense to me.
It has been suggested that 'Sol' has come via the Norse language and means 'sun'. So therefore, February is 'Sun Month'. Hardly! Unless the idea is that the winter is on its way out and the sun is beginning to shine more so spring is on its way. I tend not to favour this one because the Norse language did not really take hold in England until after the Viking invasions of the eighth century. But the idea of spring and regrowth was celebrated at the beginning of February in a festival called Imbloc, by the indigenous Britons who lived in England before the Anglo-Saxons migrated. The Romans also celebrated the beginning of February as the start of spring, too.
The full moon was known as the Storm or Ice moon at this time. So the idea of a 'sun month' really is out of the question. My fingers are numb from the cold as I write - definitely no sun month.
February, as everything in our modern calendar, is a Latin word as used by the Romans. It comes from a festival carried out at this time of year called Februa, which means to purify.
I wonder if cake can be purified with hot custard?