Today is Groundhog Day:
Groundhog Day (Canadian French: Jour de la Marmotte; Pennsylvania German: Grundsaudaag, Murmeltiertag) is a day celebrated on February 2. According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring will come early; if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter weather will persist for six more weeks.
Did he see his shadow in your neck of the woods? What will it be? Six more weeks of winter or an early spring? Which do you prefer?
Today is also Candlemas Day:
Candlemas is a Christian holiday celebrated annually on February 2. It celebrates three occasions according to Christian belief: the presentation of the child Jesus; Jesus’ first entry into the temple; and it celebrates the Virgin Mary’s purification (mainly in Catholic churches). …
Many Christians consider Jesus as the “light of the world” so it is fitting that candles are blessed on this day and that a candle-lit procession precedes the mass. …
Candlemas is also known as Candelaria in Spanish speaking countries. Whoever finds baby figures hidden inside the Rosca de Reyes (Kings Cake) on Epiphany on January 6 is obliged to bring food to a gathering held on February 2. Many Orthodox Christians celebrate this event by bringing beeswax candles to their local church and requesting for these candles to be blessed to be used in the church or at home. Some Christians observe the practice of leaving Christmas decorations up until Candlemas.
Tomorrow is the feast of St. Blaise:
The legend of his life that sprang up in the eighth century tell us that he was born in to a rich and noble family who raised him as a Christian. After becoming a bishop, a new persecution of Christians began. He received a message from God to go into the hills to escape persecution. Men hunting in the mountains discovered a cave surrounded by wild animals who were sick. Among them Blaise walked unafraid, curing them of their illnesses. Recognizing Blaise as a bishop, they captured him to take him back for trial. On the way back, he talked a wolf into releasing a pig that belonged to a poor woman. When Blaise was sentenced to be starved to death, the woman, in gratitude, sneaked into the prison with food and candles. Finally Blaise was killed by the governor.
Blaise is the patron saint of wild animals because of his care for them and of those with throat maladies.
On St. Blaise Day, some Christian denominations participate in the Blessing of the Throats, in which the saint is asked to intercede to protect participants from diseases of the throat. In some churches, crossed candles are placed beneath a participant’s chin as the invocation is voiced.
So this week, we have two days for which candles have a special significance, and we have the feast day of a saint who is the patron of wild animals, like that cute little groundhog at the top of the post.
Now I have an excuse for leaving the Christmas decorations up (other than sheer laziness)!