Thursday, February 2, 2012

Candlemas / Groundhog Day

As the light grows longer
The cold grows stronger
If Candlemas be fair and bright
Winter will have another flight
If Candlemas be cloud and rain
Winter will be gone and not come again
A farmer should on Candlemas day
Have half his corn and half his hay
On Candlemas day if thorns hang a drop
You can be sure of a good pea crop

It is very overcast here in Western NY today so I am hoping for a good pea crop. So I have come out of blogging hibernation to share these curious little facts...

For centuries people have been using animal prognosticators from bears to marmots to predict the coming of spring. There are even clashing calendar systems which state spring should start anywhere from Imbolc (Celtic St. Brigid’s Day February 1st) to the Vernal Equinox (established by the Roman calendar). Some years we go with the Celts. Some years the Romans.

The Romans looked to the Hedgehog. In America, we let a Ground Hog decide, in Serbia they watch the bears. If the bear awakens early from his hibernation, and is startled by meeting his shadow on the way out, he will be frightened back into his den and sleep for another 40 days.

Yawn... now back to my long winter's nap.


  1. Been a long time since I heard the Candlemas day rhyme ! I always figured whoever came up with watching groundhogs and predicting six more weeks of winter if he saw his shadow must have lived in a pretty mild place. In Ontario we'd have thought any spring that started in the middle of March was a wonderment.

  2. Hibernation seems like a good idea if you live in New York state. =)

    Of course, it's been in the 50s and 60s here in Ohio. When the cold comes again, there will be much whining.