Feb 2, 2001 Groundhog Day; James Joyce; Candlemas
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How's it lookin', Phil?
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Carpe diem! (Seize the day!)
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February 2, 2001
All contents Copyright © 2001, Pip Wilson, Wilsons Almanac
"History," Stephen said, "is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake."
If Maries purifyin-day
Be cleare and bright with sunny raie,
Then frost and cold shall be much more,
After the feast that was before.
R Scot, Witchcraft, bk xi, ch. Xv, 1584
When on the Purification sun hath shind,
The greatest part of winter comes behind.
English traditional proverb
If Candlemas be dry and fair,
The half o'winter's to come and mair;
If Candlemas Day be wet and foul,
The half o'winter was gone at Youl.
The shepherd would rather see the wolf enter his stable on Candlemas day than the sun.
Foul weather is no news;
hail, rain and snow,
Are now expected, and
esteem'd no woe;
Nay, 'tis an omen bad,
the yeomen say,
If Phoebus shows his face
the second day.
Country Almanac for 1676, February (Phoebus = the sun)
Happy birthday to you!
1650 Nell Gwynne, English actress who rose from a fruit barrow girl to mistress of Charles II
1859 Havelock Ellis, English psychologist noted for his studies of human sexual behaviour
1882 James Joyce, Irish novelist (Finnegan's Wake; Ulysses)
1942 Graham Nash, rock musician with sixties folk-rock group Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
This day in history
1355 Englands Edward III marched through the Lothians, Scotland with fire and sword this day was from then on called by the Scots Burnt Candlemas.
1709 Alexander Selkirk, an English sailor, was rescued after spending four years alone on an island near Chile. Daniel Defoe used Selkirk's published memoirs as a basis for his book Robinson Crusoe.
1892 The bottle cap was patented.
1986 Liechtenstein allowed women to vote for the first time.
The Feast of the Purification (Candlemas)
Healing of the insane at Strathfillan pool, old Scotland
Groundhog Day, USA
Wives' Feast Day, north of England
Festival of Juno Februa
House cleaning day, Tibet
"On Candlemas Day it shall be declared, that the bearing of candles is done in memory of Christ, the spiritual light, whom Simeon did prophesy, as it is read in the church that day." (Book of Days, Chambers 1881)
Formerly called by Roman Catholics the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary, now called by them the Presentation of our Lord. In Roman Catholic churches all the candles that will be needed in the church throughout the year are consecrated on this day. The customs of Candlemas have an ancient pre-Christian heritage: the ancient Romans had a custom of burning candles to drive away evil spirits, and the purification goddess Februa, celebrated today in ancient Rome, was commemorated with candles as later applied to the Virgin Mary.
It is not actually known if it was a Christian ceremony engrafted onto the Roman rite of Februation, or purification, or not, because it has been a Christian ceremony for a very long time, but the parallels are striking and it is probably more than coincidence.
Candlemas in olde Scotland
Scottish schoolchildren made small presents of money to teachers on this day. The boy and girl who gave most were called King and Queen respectively. Children were then dismissed for a holiday, forming a procession along the streets, carrying the King and Queen of Candlemas. The latter part of the day was the Candlemas bleeze, or blaze, a bonfire of furze.
Typically, in Scotland the landlord would come around today to tenants to see if they wanted to remain another year.
Superstition concerning Candlemas
If every remnant of Christmas decoration is not removed from the church by Candlemas (Feb 2) there will be a death in the family occupying the pew where the decoration is left.
The snowdrop, in flower about now in the Northern Hemisphere, is called the Purification flower.
Candlemas is known as Groundhog Day in the United States, from the saying that the groundhog first appears from hibernation on that day. If he sees his shadow, he goes back for another six weeks - indicating six more weeks of bad weather. Eurpean settlers brought the custom with them, mainly from Germany, where a badger had performed the same prognostications for centuries prior. (Punxsutawney Phil, Groundhog - Groundhog Day as tourist commercialism)
Chart above is from research on Groundhog Day as it relates to Chinese astronomy, Babylonian calendar, and more - worth checking out.
You ain't nuthin' but a groundhog!!
Lynn Charles has a great groundhog site, Hog Haven.
Was Groundhog Day the movie a rip-off?
Groundhog Day, the 1993 movie starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell, will not have to share its profits with the author of a 1981 book which was similarly about a man condemned to live the same day over and over. As AP reports, a US District Judge on Monday rejected a $20.44 million lawsuit brought by Leon Arden, the author of One Fine Day. Judge Denny Chin held Groundhog Day, about a weatherman who gets trapped in a time warp in Punxsatawney, was not as dark as Ardens book. Gossip, Sydney Morning Herald, December 13, 1995
Healing of the insane at Strathfillan pool, old Scotland
"At Strathfillan, there is a deep pool, called the Holy Pool, where, in olden times, they were wont to dip insane people. The ceremony was performed after sunset on the first day of the quarter, O. S.,* and before sunrise next morning. The dipped persons were instructed to take three stones from the bottom of the pool, and , walking three times round each of three cairns on the bank, throw a stone into each. They were next conveyed to the ruins of St Fillan's chapel; and in a corner called St Fillan's bed, they were laid on their back, and left tied all night. If next morning they were found loose, the cure was deemed perfect, and thanks returned to the saint. The pool is still (1843) visited, not by parishioners, for they have no faith in its virtue, but by people from other and distant places.
New Statistical Account of Scotland, parish of Killin, 1843
A man died and his wife phoned the newspaper to place an
obituary. She called the obituary department and said, "This
is what I want to print: Bernie is dead."
The man at the newspaper said, "But for $25 you are
allowed to print six words."
The woman answered, "OK. Then print: Bernie is dead.
Toyota for sale."