a blog for the paranormal-not the normal
I’ve always felt that spring starts in February. I know officially we have weeks of winter, but the wind feels a little warmer, there is more sun, and I feel springy. Shouldn’t that be enough?
Well guess what, I’m right! Just as I’ve instinctively felt fall starts much earlier than our boring calendar, it turns out that the Celtic Pagan Calendar starts spring on February First. Imbolc. This is the pagan day when the goddess Brighid is celebrated. Bridhid has now morphed in our modern world into St. Bridgit and Imbolc has morphed into Candlemas. Or Groundhog day.
Why the date change? Well, the pagan calendar is not set by the date, it’s set by the seasons, so Imbolc usually falls on February 1st, but it might be January 31st some years and February 2nd others. We modern people, however, like rigidity, so our holidays all fall on the same dates and February 2nd is it.
So how did we get from Imbolic to Candlemas to Punxsutawaney Phil?
There is a pagan tradition that if a hibernating animal casts it’s shadow on Imbolc, winter will last another six weeks. In Pennsylvania, where the people who we call the Pennsylvania Dutch settled (otherwise known as Germans), they brought with them that myth in the form of a hedgehog. I’m sure you can see how they would transfer the hedgehog into the groundhog.
All of this makes sense. What is a little unusual is the now magical tradition of Punxsutawney Phil. Did you know that supposedly this is the same groundhog they’ve been using for one hundred and twenty three years? Every summer members of the inner circle feed Phil a special potion that extends his life another seven years. They even have special top hats and coats, dressing up for their mystical rites. If that’s not spell casting I don’t know what is.
“If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again.”
Did you know that Groundhog day had it’s roots in Imbolc? Did you suspect that Punxsuawney Phil was well over one hundred or that he’s a magical being? Have you ever seen the movie “Groundhog Day” with Bill Murray? It’s one of my favorites!
Don’t forget to find me on Romance and Beyond on Friday where I’m blogging about the other reason (besides spring) that I love February.