Once again, a treasure of information from the Farmer's Almanac.
You have to love this book...you can find out anything that you need to know about gardening, weather, history, old sayings, just all kinds of things. So...in keeping with my reputation of being a warehouse of trivial information, I give you this little treasure.
Candlemas was originally a Celtic festival celebrating the fact that the days were getting longer and spring was not far off. The Christian church expanded this festival of light to commemorate the purification of the Virgin Mary and her presentation of the infant Jesus in the Temple.
Since the traditional Candlemas celebration anticipated the planting of crops, a central focus of the festivities was the forecasting of either an early spring or a lingering winter. Sunshine on Candlemas was said to indicate the return of winter. Similarly, "When the wind’s in the east on Candlemas Day / There it will stick till the second of May."
A bear brought the forecast to the people of France and England, while those in Germany looked to a badger for a sign. In the 1800s, German immigrants to Pennsylvania brought their Candlemas legends with them. Finding no badgers but lots of groundhogs, or woodchucks, there, they adapted the New World species to fit the lore.
Today that lore has grown into a full-blown festival, with Punxsutawney Phil presiding. For all things groundhog, visit the folks at Punxsutawney and see what Phil is predicting this year.
Now wasn't that more information than you ever needed to know about February 2nd...? I thought so!
Now let's have some coffee. What say you, my friend?