“If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another fight.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter won’t come again.”
~British Candlemas verse
In medieval Ireland, St. Brigid’s Feast Day was once celebrated on February 2, as it marked the beginning of when signs of spring were nearing. On this day, people marched into church processing with lit candles which were blessed by the priest. The candles were then taken home to encourage spring to come out of the darkness of winter and to rekindle the hearth fire. The day became known as Candlemas.
Gradually, over time, people began to attribute the sightings of animals leaving their hibernation burrows on Candlemas day and seeing their shadows to whether or not spring was near or winter would last a bit longer. This old custom has been transformed into what we now call Groundhog Day.
We continued this old custom today in our home with the children rising a bit earlier than usual in the hopes of catching good ol’Punxsutawney Phil emerging from his burrow.
They first filled in their Groundhog Day prediction sheets stating whether or not he would see his shadow.
We then caught the live streaming coverage from Gobbler’s Knob and discovered that Phil had indeed seen his shadow! My little man was quite pleased with himself to learn that his prediction was correct–6 more weeks of winter!
After viewing Phil’s shadow, we settled into breakfast only to find that he was awaiting us there! Although no shadows appeared, this adorable little guy from Mandy made our breakfast sandwiches a bit more interesting!
A few good books were read from the library book basket. We found this new one, The Groundhog Day Book of Facts and Fun by Wendie Old, from our local library.
I was thrilled to discover that it actually mentioned St. Brigid and the origination of the Feast of Candlemas! Just as the title states, it was full of interesting facts and tidbits, both historical, scientific and religious–a definite must to have on our shelves!
A discussion of the seasons, orbits, and the planets ensued. We even attempted to see our own shadows outside, but were dismayed due to the heavy rains that poured down. As the above British verse states, since there was cloud and rain perhaps winter will be gone for good!
Lastly, we thought it would be such fun to make our own groundhog pop out of his burrow!
Toilet paper tubes, construction paper, craft sticks, and some glue helped to transform these ordinary objects into this adorable little groundhog and his home.
Happy Groundhog Day!
Missed the groundhog today? Don’t worry! You can find all of the worksheets here for next year!
Are you happy with six more weeks of winter or disappointed that spring will not be here earlier?