I always find it extremely interesting to read about the Christian religion’s special days and discover how so often they incorporated the pagan holidays and customs into the Christian calendar.
I was reading in The Celtic Book of Days that today is Candlemas, the official end of the Christmas season. If you have not taken down your holiday decorations, today’s the day! According to Wikipedia, Candlemas may have been created as a Christian alternative to a Roman pagan holiday where believers walked the city of Rome with lighted candles. And modern Pagans believe Candlemas to be the Christianization of the festival of Imbolc, which marks the second quarter of the Pagan calendar.
As for Groundhog’s Day, it appears that possibly came to America via the Pennsylvania Dutch. Some countries watch for bears to come out of hibernation to check the weather, others watch wolves. Again, according to Wikipedia, the United Kingdom just watches the weather. If it is clear and bright, more winter; if cloudy and rain, winter will shortly be gone. London is having snow today, so I wonder what that means, other than a lot of traffic jams and cancelled air flights!
Here in the States it appears that Punxsutawney Phil predicts six more weeks of winter. Imagine that! I’d be willing to bet it will be all of six weeks in some areas of the country. I certainly hope it is not that here in Tallahassee, although they are forecasting more sub-freezing nights for the coming week. Ugh.