It's Midwinter! Celebrate Candlemas and Groundhog Day {February 2}

Friday, January 31, 2014

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 Tea
Cottage Blessings
Alice, at Cottage Blessings, provides simple yet symbolic menu ideas for Candlemas, including "Holy Simeon's Arms" pretzels, "Pure Hearts" strawberries and cream, and "Anna the Prophetess" cookies.  She has a knack for using symbolism wherever she can, even with the "Piercing Swords" toothpicks holding together the grape tomatoes and cheese.  Of course, she also uses candles in the celebration.

Crepes Recipe
Crepes or pancakes are also traditional foods for Candlemas.  Sounds good to me!

Candlemas Cookies with Drip Plates
Catholic Cuisine
How cool are these candlestick cookies?!  Very cool.  The answer is very cool.

Beeswax candle making kit
Make your own candles with a beeswax candle making kit, like the one above.  There are also kits with more neutral tones.  This would be a great craft with kids 4 and up.

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....

Groundhog Day

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


Groundhog poems

Groundhog Day!
By Gail Gibbons
Go to Sleep, Groundhog!
By Judy Cox

Who Will See Their Shadows This Year?
Who Will See Their Shadows This Year?
By Jerry Pallotta


groundhog day creative foods and crafts
Lots of fun Groundhog snacks
OhMy! Creative


Groundhog Day Coloring Page
Groundhog Day coloring page
Kiboomu Worksheets
Groundhog Day Poem Painting
The Educator's Spin On It

Wake Up Groundhog! Printable Book
Little Giraffes
Printable headband
Danielle's Place

Groundhog Puppet
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!

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