Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Just before midnight last night (Feb. 1), I hung my St. Brigid ribbon on a Green Man wreath outside my front door. Then, I pictured her wandering by in the freezing cold night to bless it with good health.
When I awoke this morning, it was where I had left it but a little bit shinier. Could it be magic?
My French grandmother died on Feb. 2, 1972. At the time, I was a small child, so I remembered it as Groundhog Day but to the adults it was Candlemas.
Traditionally, in the Western world, at Candlemas priests blessed beeswax candles for use throughout the year. It is 40 days after Christmas and marks the end of the season. Since Vatican II, the Roman Catholic Church calls it the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord with references to candles, the Purification of Mary, and an emphasis on Simeon the Righteous.
The English poet Robert Herrick (1591 to 1674) had a thing for Candlemas and wrote about it on several occasions.
"If Candlemas day be fair and bright
Winter will have another flight.
But if it be dark with clouds and rain,
Winter is gone, and will not come again."

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