Sunday, 10 February 2013

Poulenc for Lupercalia

This week we have Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, Valentine's Day (Lupercalia) and Friday 15 February is Canadian Flag Day Proclamation (1965) so much celebration.

All ancient celebrations, Lupercalia is probably the oldest coming to us from Antiquity with a cosmetic change into Valentine's Day a few centuries ago by those Christian people. It is essentially a fertility rite. It is believed that it started with the founding of Rome in 753 BCE. It tells the story of Romulus and Remus being suckled by the She Wolf in a Cave below the Palatine Hill. It was announced in 2007 that the cave at been found and is located below the House of Emperor Augustus. It is under going restoration.

Mardi Gras is related to Lent and a Feast Day ending Carnivals celebrations. In Ottawa we had an excellent Winterlude this year, the weather was cold and the ice sculptures around Confederation Park where shining in the bright winter sunshine. Thousands of people skated on the 7.8 Km lenght of the Rideau Canal. At City Hall we had free figure skating shows by young skating champions accompanied by beautiful music. The City also re-used the Christmas trees it collects every year after the Holiday Season to create hedges of greenery which topped with fresh snow and coloured lights has a magical effect amongst the Ice sculptures in the park.

Winterlude old Canada treats

Ice Skating show at Ottawa City Hall
Skating on the UNESCO Rideau Canal

Ash Wednesday in the Christian Calendar 13 February 2013, not much mentioned nowadays in the age of ME First. I always liked it as a day of reflection. But then reflection nowadays is not much in fashion. We are 46 days prior to Easter and it is a time for Christians to reflect on life and death, life's choices and direction.

Friday is the birthday of the Canadian Flag (1965), 48 years ago the new red maple leaf was proclaimed on Parliament Hill by Queen Elizabeth II in the presence of the then Prime Minister and Nobel Peace Prize laureate (1956) the Rt Hon. Lester B. Pearson. The original flag which flew that day from the Peace Tower of Parliament is now kept at the National Archives in Ottawa.

Finally why Poulenc for Lupercalia, well I wish to dedicate this piece of music to Will for Valentine's Day. Les Chemins de l'amour by Francis Poulenc, one of my favourite French music composer. Sung here by the great Yvonne Printemps.


  1. I remember all the excitement at school surrounding Canada getting a new flag. I was 7 at the time and in Grade 2. We coloured endless gestetner pictures of the new flag. We wore our red crayons down to a nub!

  2. Debra, I did the same thing at school. Must have been a National school program back then.

  3. The pope retiring is kind of a shock. Maybe that will have an effect on the Ash Wednesday mentions.

    Lovely ice sculptures.

    1. I am preparing an entry on the abdication of the Pope as Sovereign Pontiff. See also tomorrow my Ash Wednesday theme entry. Thanks