In the United States, we celebrate a strange holiday called Groundhog Day. It is a holiday that is derived from and old European holiday, Candlemas. There was an old saying about Candlemas being the day to determine how much longer winter was going to stick around:
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.
According to the official Groundhog Day website, the Romans brought Candlemas to Europe and from that, the Germans decided that if an animal (they chose the hedgehog for some reason) saw it’s shadow on Candlemas, it meant six more weeks of winter. When German settlers came to the United States to settle in Pennsylvania, they brought this holiday with them. Once they realized there were no hedgehogs to be found, however, they decided that the groundhog was such an intelligent and sensible animal that he would surely know to run back into his burrow if he saw his shadow, hence Groundhog Day.
Candlemas/Groundhog Day fall the day after the pagan holiday Imbolc, which was later Christianized into St. Brigid’s Day. Regardless of which form the holiday is celebrated, they all mark the halfway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox. Long ago, this would have been a time to start to prepare for the spring planting and birthing of animals and to celebrate the upcoming season of growth and light.While traditionally in the United States, we celebrate Groundhog Day by checking if Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, Candlemas is celebrated in a completely different fashion. One of the most obvious ways to celebrate Candlemas is with candles. I find that celebrating Candlemas is a good way to chase away the winter blues and combat cabin fever. So we’ve been experimenting with several DIY methods for making candles for Candlemas. First we made clementine candles. Then Sola decided that she wanted to make rolled beeswax candles, while I made votive candles. I colored the votive candles by adding scraps of modeling wax to my melted beeswax. I bought our beeswax from Arden and James and our candle making supplies from The Place 4 Candles, both of which are Etsy shops.What about you? Has this winter got you feeling a bit down and out? Are you suffering from post holiday blues? Tired of cold and flu season? Then go make or buy some candles to light on Candlemas! Really, it is impossible to stay in a bad mood when in flickering candlelight.
For more Candlemas inspiration, be sure to check out my Pinterest board!