According to Jewish law, a mother who had given birth to a boy was considered unclean for 7 days. Additionally she was to “remain in the blood of her purification” for another 33 days. Therefore the mother was to bring her baby boy to the temple after her 40 days of purification. The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord is celebrated 40 days after December 25th, (the Nativity of the Lord).
In earlier celebrations, the Mass began with a procession in which partakers carried lighted candles representing the Christ child’s (light of the world) entry into the temple of Jerusalem. This practice became known as the Candle Mass or Candlemas which later included the blessing of beeswax candles that were to be used throughout the year.
So what does all this have to do with Groundhog day? There is an old English song that says:
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas bring clouds and rain,
Go winter, and come not again.
This song reflects a farmer’s belief that the remainder of winter would be the opposite of what it is on February 2nd. So if the day is sunny and bright, more winter was on the way. If the day was cloudy and rainy, it was thought that winter would be ending soon. Sound familiar?
Let us be thankful for a faith that is rich in tradition; always paving our year with the life of our Lord.
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