We are now in the depths of winter. For us Marylanders, that has meant temps in the teens and snow sticking around much longer than usual. For centuries, people have looked to the natural world to predict the end of winter and upcoming spring. In the United States, this tradition is celebrated on February 2nd, Groundhog Day. February 2nd is also a Catholic feast day: The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, also known as Candlemas. Interestingly enough, Candlemas also has been a time for predicting the weather. So let's get to celebrating us some middle of winter!
This year will be our first time celebrating Candlemas, and I'm excited for our family to learn more about it. Candlemas is the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, also known as the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin. It is during Jesus' presentation at the temple that Simeon recognizes Jesus as the Messiah, as Simeon says that Jesus is "a light for revelation to the Gentiles" (Luke 2:32). Jesus is "the light of the World" that brings us out of darkness, and so at the Candlemas Day mass, there is a procession of candles and a blessing of candles. More details about the history and celebration of this feast day can be found at Catholic Culture.
Because I'm new to Candlemas, I don't have any creative or original ideas to post. But I did find some great resources with activities and foods to celebrate this often overlooked feast day. And, here's a song played for Candlemas!
|Candlemas Cookies with Drip Plates|
|Beeswax candle making kit|
Although the weather prediction aspect of Candlemas is not necessarily of Catholic origin, I don't see it as a conflict if we aren't being superstitious. This is one of the historical rhymes to predict the weather:
If Candlemas Day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another flight;
But if it be dark with clouds and rain,
Winter is gone and will not come again.
Which leads us to another very popular weather-predicting holiday....
Being that the groundhog's party is very early on February 2nd, it is best to learn about Groundhog Day and do activities on the days leading up to it. That way, you'll be all set to find out Punxsutawney Phil's prediction! I'm not going to go into too much description here, as this post is already super long and the links should be pretty self-explanatory.
Groundhog Day Slideshow for Kids
Basic Groundhog Information Slideshow
By Gail Gibbons
|Go to Sleep, Groundhog!|
By Judy Cox
|Who Will See Their Shadows This Year?|
By Jerry Pallotta
|Lots of fun Groundhog snacks|
|Groundhog Day coloring page|
|Groundhog Day Poem Painting|
The Educator's Spin On It
|Wake Up Groundhog! Printable Book|
Best Handicraft Blogs
Of course, the climax of Groundhog Day events is finding out whether Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow or not. You can find this out on the news, or check out the Groundhog Day website for video of the event.
Have a wonderful Candlemas and let's hope for an early spring!