Daily Archives: February 4, 2009

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Candlemas goes up in smoke

February second is Candlemas, also known as Imbolc, also known as Groundhog Day. Midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, it is a quarterday. A great holiday, loaded with enough traditions to beg for a party. And while begging generally leaves me cold, the combination of food, flames, ancient rites and that it is the eve of the Man of Few Words’ birthday could not be resisted.

A few random Candlemas traditions:

In France and Canada this day is known as La Fête de la Chandeleur. Traditionally crêpes are eaten to insure a bountiful year. They represent the moon and fertility.

Last Chance
Any Christmas decorations not taken down by Twelfth Night (January 5th) should be left up until Candlemas Day and then taken down and burned,

In pre-Christian times, this day was known as the ‘Feast of Lights’ and celebrated the increase strength of the life-giving sun as winter gave way to spring.

Farmer’s proverbs

A farmer should, on Candlemas Day, Have half his corn and half his hay.

On Candlemas Day if the thorns hang adrop, You can be sure of a good pea crop.

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another fight.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter won’t come again.

The snowdrop flower was known as ‘Candlemas Bell’ and it was believed to be unlucky to bring snowdrops into the house before Candlemas.

Place a lit candle in every window at sundown and let them burn all night (be careful how you protect them, tall glass jars work well)

We feasted, lit candles, burned wreaths and greens and sparklers and ate crepes. Bonne Fete.