Groundhog Day and CandlemasIt is February 2, 2013 and that means it is Groundhog Day, a celebration of a little rodent who lives in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

The tradition holds when Punxsutawney Phil awakens on this day, if his sees his shadow on a sunny morning, there will be six more weeks of winter. Then the vermin heads back underground until winter is over.

However, if Phil doesn’t see his shadow, spring will be early and everyone lives happily ever after… or something like that.

This tale of yore actually migrated to America with German immigrants who settled in the hills of Pennsylvania, and is lightly based upon Candlemas, also celebrated on February 2nd, the day in the middle of winter and spring.

A famous Candlemas poems goes:

    If Candlemas be fair and bright,
    Winter has another flight.
    If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
    Winter will not come again.

Speaking of Candlemas…

Candlemas, The Feast of Purification

Candlemas marks the end of the Christmas season. Candlemas is a celebration of the Feast of Purification of the Virgin Mary.

According to Jewish customs, women were considered “unclean” after the birth of a child. The unclean period lasted 40 days after the birth of a son, and 60 days after the birth of a daughter. During this period, they were not allowed into the temple to worship. At the end of this time, the woman was brought to the temple and “purified” in a ceremony.

After the birth of Christ, the Virgin Mary was purified on Candlemas or the Feast of Purification.

On Candlemas, candles used during the year are blessed. In Christian churches, candles represent Jesus Christ as the light, the truth and the way.

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