Today is a holiday. For the sports-minded, it is the day after the Superbowl.
For the Pagans, it is Imbolc, the day when the newborn lambs begin to nurse. Imbolc’s other name is Brigantia. This day is marked by the growing power of the sun, bidding farewell to winter, and special fire-lighting ceremonies.
For Christians, February 2 is known as Candlemas, or the Christian Festival of Lights. It celebrates the baptism of Jesus. The ancient festival marked the midpoint of winter, whether Pagan or Christian. People thought that the Christmas season lasted 40 days or until Feb. 2. Lighting candles supposedly scared away evil spirits.
To most kids in this part of the world, February 2 is known as Ground Hog Day. Legend has it that if ground hog Phil in Punxsutawney, PA sees his shadow, he goes back into his den and sleeps for 6 more weeks, giving us 6 more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, then spring is just around the corner. Punxsutawney Phil is the prognosticator of the day.
Ground Hog Day has become the better known of all the Feb. 2 holidays. February is just a fun-filled month. It is shorter than all the others, it has leap year ever 4 years where we get an extra day, it has Valentines Day and Presidents’ Day in honor of the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
We also celebrate Black History Month and some of us drool over amethysts, the beautiful February gem. What has been left out? Surely February is more than a time between the Superbowl and March Madness.
Please make your own contributions to the day or the month. I am positive I have left out something critical.
[UPDATE! According to Gainesville Resident: Punxsatawney Phil claims (after the fact) that he accurately predicted the Steeler’s win. He also predicts 6 more weeks of winter. Then again he’s only said spring is around the corner 16 times in more than 100 years.]