I was tied up yesterday and unable to blog. So I missed posting the Ground Hog Day Mass, also known as "Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary" and "Presentation of the Lord" as well as Candlemas.
There is a connection, though, between Ground Hog Day and Candlemas as I have posted in years gone by!
The name February comes from the Latin februare, which means to purify. For the Romans, February was a time of cleansing and purification. They prepared themselves for various activities that were coming in the Spring, making a fresh start. On February 15, Romans celebrated Luperaclia, honoring Faunus, god of fertility. Priests of Faunus took thongs called Februa to lash girls with, an act which was supposed to ensure fertility.
The Christian Church appropriated the celebrations of Imbolc just as it did with so many of the other pagan holidays in ancient Europe. Christians renamed this day Candlemas, partially because of the tradition of lighting candles and perhaps also to retain the fire imagery: a common aspect of pagan celebrations was a large fire for the purpose of purification and cleansing. Among Catholics, Candlemas has become a day known as the Feast of Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Other names for Candlemas Day
Candlemas's Day also has two other names. One is the 'Presentation of Christ in the Temple'. The other is the 'Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary'. Both these names come from special events in the life of baby Jesus.
Candlemas Day Weather-lore, beliefs and sayings
People believe that Candlemas Day predicted the weather for the rest of the winter. The weather proverbs express the idea that a fine bright sunny Candlemas day means that there is more winter to come, whereas a cloudy wet stormy Candlemas day means that the worst of winter is over.
If Candlemas Day be fair and brightFarmer's Proverbs
Winter will have another fight.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter won't come again.
If Candlemas Day be dry and fair,
The half o the winter's to come and mair;
If Candlemas Day be wet and foul,
The half o the winter's gane at Yule.
'A farmer should, on Candlemas Day,
Have half his corn and half his hay.'
'On Candlemas Day if the thorns hang adrop,
You can be sure of a good pea crop.'
In America the same story is told about the groundhog or woodchuck." The badger peeps out of his hole on Candlemas Day,
and, if he finds snow, walks abroad; but if he sees the sun shining he draws back into his hole."
A candle which drips on one side when carried in church on Candlemas, denotes a death during the year of someone dear.
Snowdrops are considered to be unlucky if brought into the house before Candlemas Day, representing a parting or death.
Any Christmas decorations not taken down by Twelfth Night (January 5th) should be left up until Candlemas Day and then taken down.