Candlemas

Most of us know February 2 as Groundhog Day and think of it as little more than a silly superstition. But did you know that Groundhog Day is a vestige of an ancient holiday called Candlemas which marks the midway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox?

For those of us living in Colorado, making it half-way through winter is a cause for celebration! Especially when winter can last well into May. To celebrate Candlemas, we come together as families for an evening of candle making and camaraderie.

This time of year has been celebrated for centuries in many ways in many places.

  • In the past, when one’s diet and income relied your garden or farm, the end of winter was more than a time of cabin fever and seasonal depression–it could also be a time of hunger and poverty.
  • Christians celebrated Candlemas as the mark of 40 days after the birth of Christ – many still do today.
  • Pagans celebrated the Feast Day of Juno on February 2 and the Celts celebrated St. Brigid.
  • And even before Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, there were customs to forecast the weather.

A popular Scottish verse sounds very familiar:

If Candlemass Day be dry and fair,
The half o’winter’s to come and mair [more];
If Candlemass Day be wet and foul,
The half of winter’s gane [gone] at Yule.