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Groundhog Day

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Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 13:36 UK time, Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Today, February 2nd, is Candlemas Day - a traditional Christian festival.

It was the custom on Candlemas Day for clergy to bless candles and distribute them to the people and a lighted candle was placed in churches and windows to brighten up the dark winter nights.

In Pagan times, it was known as the 'feast of lights' and celebrated the mid point of winter, half-way between the shortest day in December and the spring equinox in March.

In the United States and Canada, Candlemas Day is better known as 'Groundhog Day' - made famous by the film starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.

In the United States and Canada, Candlemas Day is better known as 'Groundhog Day' - made famous by the film starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.

Yes, it's definitely Groundhog Day ;)

According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, it will leave the burrow and winter will soon end.

If it's sunny, the groundhog will see its shadow and go back into its burrow for another nap, and winter will carry on for another six weeks!

Some people believe that the weather on Candlemas Day can tell us what the rest of the winter will be like and there's an old rhyme:

'If Candlemas Day be fair and bright, winter will have another fight but if Candlemas Day be clouds and rain, winter is gone and will not come again.'

Well, it is raining today but it would be a brave person who says that winter is over...

There is no sign of any more heavy snow on the horizon, at least in the next two weeks, but of course it can snow in March and snow is more common at Easter than at Christmas.

In the meantime, I can promise a drier and brighter day tomorrow with some sunshine but make the most of it, because there is more wet and windy weather on the way later this week. Some heavy rain is likely too with strong to severe gale force winds but nothing compared to what Cyclone Yasi will be unleashing on Northern Queensland shortly.



  • Comment number 1.

    The Groundhog they use has a name - Punxsutawney Phil!

  • Comment number 2.

    Pagans also refer to this day as Imbolc which translates literally as " ewes milk" but represents the stirring of spring as the potential life of the land is reborn. The Great Triple Goddess casts aside the dark cloak of the winter crone of wisdom and is reborn as the shining white maiden of spring Brighid who later became the Celtic Christian St Brigid. The feast of lights may refer to the old custom of the girl playing the part of the maiden wearing a crown with seven candles (wouldnt the Health n Safety lot love that) during the Ceremony to celebrate Imbolc.


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