Today is Candlemas Day--the day when all the candles used for the upcoming year are traditionally blessed. Candlemas marks the day when winter is halfway over. We are now midway between the shortest day of the year and the Spring Equinox. For those of us who think that having a Christmas season that lasts until January 6 is a long time, there are some cultures who celebrate it until Candlemas!
Candlemas is also the origin of Groundhog Day. Here is the nursery rhyme that we still follow (albeit in a more secular context) today:
If Candlemas day (2 February) be dry and fair
The half o' winters to come and mair
If Candlemas day be wet and foul
The half o' winter's gane at Yule.
Here is a more modern version:
If Candlemas day be bright and fair,
There’ll be two winters in a year.
If Candlemas be fair & bright,
winter will have another flight.
Christ, be our Light!