In the United States, the second of February is commonly referred to as Groundhog Day. Legend says that if a groundhog comes out of its burrow and sees its shadow it will immediately retreat to its den since winter is going to last 6 more weeks. Punxsutawney Phil is the most famous weather-predicting groundhog, but other towns have their own groundhogs: Thistle the Whistle-pig gets the award for best prognosticating groundhog name. Although I appreciate the desire to see the end of cold weather, winter is going to last approximately 6 more weeks no matter what. The first equinox of 2021 occurs on March 20 and signals the arrival of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
Moving on from groundhogs – let’s talk about Imbolc/Candlemas/St. Brigid’s Day.
Imbolc is observed from sundown February 1 to sundown February 2 and is an ancient day of celebration that originates in Ireland. It’s an old Gaelic festival marking the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Although it may still be wintery out, some green shoots are beginning to pop up (we have daffodils coming up at my house!). In addition, this time of year would historically mark the beginning of lambing season. The arrival of light and new life are the hallmarks of Imbolc.
Which brings me to Candlemas. This is a (mostly) Catholic celebration observed on February 2. If you are Christian, then this is the day that honors the presentation of Jesus at the temple and Mary’s purification after giving birth. (Side note: Thank goodness women are no longer considered unclean or in need of purification after giving birth! Hurray for progress!) As you might guess by the name, candles are a key component of celebrating Candlemas. Again, light and new life are center stage at this celebration.
Finally, let’s talk about St. Brigid’s Day which is an Irish festival closely tied to Imbolc, being observed from sundown February 1 to sundown February 2. Brigid is claimed by both Christians and other religious groups. For Christians, she is the patron saint for babies. For others, she is the goddess of fire.
Do you see the trend here? By early February, the days are getting longer, and plants are starting to grow. We become hopeful for more light and new life. This hope has run through the stream of human consciousness for thousands of years! My hope for you is that you will take today to celebrate the longer days and the new life beginning to emerge as spring approaches.
The Akita Top
The video is up! Click the thumbnail to watch on YouTube. You will also find the link for a downloadable version of my vintage fabrics tip sheet in the description of the video.
Daily Short Videos
I have committed myself to posting a super short YouTube video every day. They are each under 60 seconds. The topics vary widely. You might see birds, sewing, cooking, and who knows what else! Click the image below to go to the playlist and be sure to subscribe so you never miss one.
Coming up in February
This week I am working on a Lunar New Year project (more about that next week); I am starting my fluffy pink coat; and I am working on my collage on canvas project.