Candlemas Day

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another fight.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter won’t come again.

Candlemas DayOn Facebook this morning people are talking about Groundhog Day. It’s also being talked about on the radio. Bright and early this morning we were being told that we were due for six more weeks of winter, but growing up we always went by what the weather was like at noon on this day. Somehow things get changed along the way without any of us knowing how or why. Who knows, maybe that was just a regional thing?

But Groundhog Day isn’t the only happening thing going on today. The 2nd of February is also known as Candlemas Day an ancient festival that marked the midpoint of winter.  Yay! We’re half-way there. Isn’t that enough to make you shout for joy? Already, you can see a big difference in the amount of daylight hours we have and I find it exciting. I love the way the longer days are becoming more noticeable. It makes me feel happy and hopeful in a way that I don’t feel any other time of the year.

From what I read Candlemas Day was originally a pagan festival called Imbolc which was called the Festival of Lights and focused on lighting fires. The lighting of fires celebrated the increasing power of the sun over the coming months, and we’re certainly feeling that!

So how did The Festival of Lights become known as Candlemas?

The church turned this pagan festival into Candlemas Day. It was the day when all the candles, that were to be used in the church during the year, were blessed. They were then distributed around and a lighted candle was placed in the window of each home. Sounds kind of nice actually. Of course, back in the day, candles were important, not only for shedding light, but people thought they gave protection against nasty things like the plague and famine. Nothing like a famine or plague to take the fun out of winter I like to say.

So while I did know this day meant we were half way through winter I didn’t know exactly why it was called Candlemas Day. Thank goodness Google can answer all our questions.

While this is totally unrelated to Candlemas or even Groundhog day, I do want to mention that there’s still time to enter a contest over at Lynn Davidson’s blog for a chance to win a copy of Steve Vernon’s YA novel, Sinking Deeper OR My awesome brilliant Questionable Heroic Decision to Invent a Sea Monster. I’ve already read the book and enjoyed it a lot!  Here’s the link if you’d like to enter.

So what am I planning this Candlemas Day? Well, I’m not building any bonfires I can tell you that right away, but I may just light a candle tonight to welcome in the second half of winter. I’m also going to enjoy this sunny day and feel glad that we’re half-way through winter.

Happy Candlemas Day! Do you have any special plans for today?

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