Saturday, February 03, 2018

Candles and Groundhogs

Image result for candlemas

Yesterday a CBC reporter was injured covering a story. As dramatic as that may sound, it turned out to be a minor rodent attack. The groundhog Shubenacadie Sam, the Nova Scotia equivalent of Ontario's Wiarton Willie made a break for freedom during the annual Groundhog Day shadow-sighting event and the reporter was bitten trying to stop the great escape.
Groundhog Day is a big deal in our household because older daughter Jocelyn was born on February 2nd. She turned 33 yesterday but she is still our Groundhog Girl. And our Candlemas Child as well, although this is lesser known.
In fact, Groundhog Day began with the Christian feast day of Candlemas and in some traditions there were worship services and choral events yesterday. Candlemas commemorates the occasion recorded in Luke's gospel when the infant Jesus was presented in the temple to the elders, Anna and Simeon. It is also the day when RC's and Lutherans and Anglicans bring their candles to the church to be blessed. This was roughly mid way between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, so the hope was the blessed candles would sustain folk through the rest of the darker days of the season.

Image result for candlemas
The tradition was that winter would drag on if Candlemas Day dawned sunny and clear, but spring would come soon if the weather was cloudy. The Germans expanded on Candlemas Day by taking meteorology cues from a hedgehog (those madcap Germans!). Since we North Americans are hedgehog bereft the notion was transferred to groundhogs and as quickly as you can say Bill Murray a new tradition was born with the threat of six more weeks of winter always looming.  
As you have learned I can find a religious or spiritual slant on just about everything, and this is my gift for today.

Image result for groundhog day film



Judy said...

In my experiences over the years of watching the groundhog's appearance, we get spring in 6 weeks if he sees his shadow, and in 42 days if he doesn't ... if we are lucky!

David Mundy said...

Sadly, your math is quite accurate Judy.