candlemas

The other day, Matthew surprised me by bringing home a delicious treat…a Nutella and banana crepe. As we scarfed down our goodie, he told me that Le Creuset (the store next to his Starbucks, which contains many cooking objects of my desire) was celebrating “some holiday where in France they make crepes.  It’s for some saint.”

I just nodded, my mouth stuffed with warm chocolate hazelnutty goodness.

But today I found out that it’s Candlemas…and that’s where our whole idea of Groundhog Day comes from. It’s the feast which celebrates Jesus’ presentation at the temple—for his purification.  He would have been 40 days old at that time, and because he was the firstborn, his parents dutifully brought him to the temple to dedicate him to the Lord.  And now it’s a celebration of light, of weather, and of…grain.  So typically round (like the sun) grainy things (like crepes) are eaten and enjoyed today.

Some churches even bless their candles on this day!

So, because it became a day to “predict” or ask for blessings concerning weather (thinking of this makes me long to live a somehow more agrarian life—a slower, more mindful way), this song came to be:

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas bring clouds and rain,
Go winter, and come not again.

So, if the sun cast a shadow on Candlemas day, more winter was on the way; if there was no shadow, winter was thought to be ending soon. And this, of course, led to the folklore behind “Groundhog’s Day,” which falls on Candlemas Day.