Monday, 2 February 2015

Candlemas

Paul Simons's W eather Eye in today's Times tells me that today is Candlemas - or if I lived in the U S - Groundhog Day.   These old milestones in the year always have a grain of truth in them and I must say that quite often the farmer seems to take more notice of these things than he does of weather forecasts.

My father-in-law, who spent every meal time at the same chair in the kitchen, a chair with a look out directly to the West, would predict the coming of rain by whether or not it was 'black over Zebra', Zebra being a hill with three conifers on the top which he could see from his chair.   Well, he was looking directly to the West and most of our wet weather comes from the West, so more than a grain of truth there.

The folklore says, 'If Candlemas Day be fair and bright/Winter will have another flight/If on Candlemas Day it be shower and rain/Winter is gone and will not come again.   All I can say is that today it has been sunny, bright and absolutely bitterly cold.   And the little bit of remaining snow is hanging about - another bit of folklore suggests that if it does this it is waiting for more to join it.

Simons tells how when the European settlers arrived in the US they looked to the Groundhog to give them an indication of how the weather was progressing, hence the term Groundhog Day.

But one fact is interesting.   Candlemas or Groundhog Day - whichever you care to call it - marks the absolute  halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.   For the next three months the energy will grow stronger and the hours of sunlight will increase.   And as so manyof us over here in the UK have had snow, let's take comfort from another old saying - 'Much February snow a fine summer doth show' - now that I really do want to believe in.

12 comments:

angryparsnip said...

I love Groundhog Day. My oldest son was born on this holiday !
It is such a fun holiday, just waiting for a very cute furry rodent come outside for a scratch, yawn and then go back to sleep.

cheers, parsnip

Elizabeth said...

I love the sound of Candlemas - so much more elegant than "Groundhog Day".
By the way Groundhog day is a very amusing, absurdly silly film.

Um - beastly cold - ice encasing every twig - snow falling onto ice here.
Book group cancelled - just as well as there is a LOT of Middlemarch.

Only bright spot - grandchild number three born yesterday and the weather was temporarily good enough to dash out to Long Island to admire her.
About to take dog out - this weather is much worse than the blizzard that never came here!
Keep warm.

MorningAJ said...

In pagan lore today is Imbolc. It's a festival of light. We light candles to encourage the sun to return.

Gerry Snape said...

I went out in the back field looking for snowdrops...no joy but clumps of primrose plants with the very beginning of buds in the heart...hope springs and spring hopes!!!!

Joanne Noragon said...

Half way to anemones and hyacinths.

Frances said...

It has been snowing tonight in Hertfordshire. About half an inch settled in the garden but the road seems to be clear.. Snowdrops are flowering in various gardens that I pass.......a lovely harbinger of spring.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

I hear the groundhog tried to bite someone today - well how would we like it is some big monster came and yanked us out of our hibernation just to pretend that they are forecasting weather. I can't believe that they still do that - talk about cruelty to animals.

I prefer Candlemas - and it was cloudy. chilly and rainy here - so I'm ready for an early spring.

Cro Magnon said...

Our weather comes from the West too. My vigneron told me recently that if smoke from the chimney goes straight up, it's a sign of rain. Not too sure.

Gwil W said...

If I see a groundhog (Murmeltier) I will alert you.

We had a shower of rain and sleet yesterday the 2nd, enough that only 250 protesters turned up to protest about the Islamisation (?) of Europe. I passed them on my way to the Film Museum to watch a comedy.

Today is inspiringly bright and sunny.

Heather said...

There is so much sense in much of our old country lore. Very comforting to know we are halfway on our journey to more pleasant (hopefully) conditions.
The daffodils my husband bought home for me on Saturday are now in full bloom and scenting the living room. Spring has arrived, if only on our dining table!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Daffodils, snowdrops, primroses, the odd grounhog - and a new baby - Spring is definitely on its way.

yael said...

It was a very hot day here, but i don;t know if the Candlemass works here too.