Monday, February 1, 2010

Candlemas Traditions for February 2nd

"Candlemas Day" by Marianne Stokes

DOWN with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and misletoe;
Down with the holly, ivy, all,
Wherewith ye dress'd the Christmas Hall:
That so the superstitious find
No one least branch there left behind:
For look, how many leaves there be
Neglected, there (maids, trust to me)
So many goblins you shall see.

- Robert Herrick

This traditional poem about a Candlemas superstition is a fun reminder that all Christmas decor should come down by the end of the day. This year, I left up a token decoration--our wreath--which we will be burning in the fireplace this evening! Our neighbors should feel reassured that we will not be that family who leaves the outdoor Christmas decorations up year-round.

It is midwinter, the turning point of the year, when we look behind with gladness on the holidays past and forward to the last, bleakest days of cold and to the sobriety of Lent. It is a time for quiet thought, if we can get it. For thoughtful reflection, if we will face it. It is a day for Mass, for family around the fire, for cold hands and warm hearts. And, crepes wouldn't go amiss, either. This year, I'm serving ours up for breakfast (as opposed to the traditional late-night snack) with apple filling and whipped cream. Yum!

Also, did you know that Candlemas lore was the precursor to Groundhog's Day and the rituals surrounding our good friend Puxatawnay Phil? As the old English saying goes,

If Candlemas day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another flight.
If Candlemas day be shower and rain,
Winter is gone and will not come again.

February 2nd is one day of the year when this Seattlite pulls for rain! How's it faring in your neck of the woods?

1 comment:

  1. Today was a lovely, albeit cool, sunshine-y day. Not unusual for any day in Colorado. If the saying is true, we're in for more winter here! Oh well... Hope you got some rain!


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