3 Responses to It’s Groundhog Day!

  • We do not have Groundhog Day in Scotland – No Groundhogs!

    However, we do have the following rhyme for Candlemas Day (One of the four quarter-days or term-days, along with Whitsunday, Lammas and Martinmas)

    If Candlemas day be dry and fair,
    The half o’ winter ‘s to come and mair,
    If Candlemas day be wet and foul,
    The half of winter’s gane at Yule.

    Also,

    If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
    There’ll be twa winters in the year.

  • Punxsutawney is barely two hours away from the humble abode of the Penguins Fan Family. I have not been there for the silliness of watching a groundhog come out of a hole. Maybe one day before I am too old to care.
    February 2 is my late dad’s birthday. He would be 80 today. He has been gone for almost 23 years and did not live to see his grandchildren. My dad loved little kids.
    February 2 is also the Purification of Mary, or Candlemas. Christmas was 40 days ago and today is the last day of Christmastide. We keep our Nativity set out until today. Later today I will post the poem from the St. John Cantius site, “I am Christmas”, which is fitting for this day.

  • As indicated above:

    In Poland, the candles brought from home to be blessed are decorated with symbols and ribbons. There, the custom is to let a blessed candle burn all night tonight before an icon of Our Lady who, when the world still had forests, was relied upon to keep the wolves away during these cold nights. Now, our “wolves” tend to be of a different sort, but the pious burning of a blessed candle tonight, with prayers offered to Our Lady, still might help keep them at bay. This tradition gives Candlemas its Polish name—“Matka Boska Gromniczna,” or “Mother of God of the Blessed Thunder Candle.”

    In any case, when Candlemas is finished, all feelings of Christmas give way to the penitential feelings of Septuagesima and then Lent. The English poet, Robert Herrick (A.D. 1591-1674), sums it up in his poem “Ceremony Upon Candlemas Eve”—and reveals a folktale in the process:

    Ceremony Upon Candlemas Eve

    Down with the rosemary, and so
    Down with the bays and misletoe ;
    Down with the holly, ivy, all,
    Wherewith ye dress’d the Christmas Hall :
    That so the superstitious find
    No one least branch there left behind :
    For look, how many leaves there be
    Neglected, there (maids, trust to me)
    So many goblins you shall see.

    This very ancient carol also speaks of the departure of Christmas on this day. It is called “I Am Christmas,” and was written by James Ryman, a Franciscan Friar, ca. 1492. Note that the reference to Hallowtide (the days of the dead centering around All Saints Day) here refers to the fact that it was during Hallowtide that monarchs used to announce where they would be spending Christmas.

    I Am Christmas

    Here have I dwelled with more or lass
    From Hallowtide till Candelmas,
    And now must I from you hens pass;
    Now have good day.

    I take my leve of king and knight,
    And erl, baron, and lady bright;
    To wilderness I must me dight;
    Now have good day!

    And at the good lord of this hall
    I take my leve, and of gestes all;
    Me think I here Lent doth call;
    Now have good day!

    And at every worthy officere,
    Marshall, panter, and butlere
    I take my leve as for this yere;
    Now have good day!

    Another yere I trust I shall
    Make mery in this hall,
    If rest and peace in England fall;
    Now have good day!

    But oftentimes I have herd say
    That he is loth to part away
    That often biddeth ‘Have good day!”;
    Now have good day!

    Now fare ye well, all in fere,
    Now fare ye well for all this yere;
    Yet for my sake make ye good chere;
    Now have good day!

It’s Groundhog Day!

Tuesday, February 2, AD 2016

 

 

 

Ah, Groundhog day, that loopiest of all American observances, dating back to 1886 or 1887.  While I am doubtful of the predictive powers of a woodchuck’s shadow, (Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, indicating an early spring according to Groundhog Day lore.)  who couldn’t hold in high esteem a species that has bitten some nosey politicians on earlier Groundhog Days?

 

 

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8 Responses to It’s Groundhog Day!

  • Far more significant than Punxsutaney Phil, today is Candlemas, also the Feast of the Presentation and the Purification of Mary. Forty days after the birth of Jesus, Mary followed the Jewish law of purification. It is at this time that Simeon made his prophecy as he held the Baby Jesus.
    As this is my dad’s birthday, gone now for 22 years, and the close of the Christmas season ( in Catholic countries) I’ll dig up the poem from the St. John Cantius website and post it later, to say goodbye to another Christmas. Candlemas Mass tonight will have a procession with lit candles, as was done in years past.

  • And one of the best movies ever made.

  • In Scotland, we have a number of old rhymes similar to the Groundhog Day legend

    1) If Candlemas day be dry and fair,
    The half o’ winter ‘s to come and mair,
    If Candlemas day be wet and foul,
    The half of winter’s gane at Yule.
    2 )If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
    There’ll be twa winters in the year.
    3) If Candlemas be fair and bright,
    Come, Winter, have another flight;
    If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
    Go Winter, and come not again.

  • Candlemas Day here was bright and sunny. How much of an impact does that have on the rest of winter? None. We are but four days away from the midpoint of winter.

    From the St. John Cantius website:

    Time After Epiphany

    The season of Time after Epiphany is more a season set up for liturgical reasons than spiritual ones, as it is spiritually a continuation of Christmas’s devotion to the Divine Childhood. Because the date of Easter changes each year, two seasons have variable lengths in order to balance the calendar. The Season of Time After Pentecost can have as few as 23 Sundays or as many as 28 Sundays depending on the date of Easter. This season can have anywhere from 4 to 38 days, depending on the date of Easter. If this season is short, then Time after Pentecost will be longer; and if this Season is long, Time after Pentecost will be shorter.

    But the spiritual focus of the Season up until Candlemas is the continuation of Christmas and contemplation of the Divine Childhood. After Candlemas, the celebration of events of His young life gives way to a focus on His adult life.

    Ceremony Upon Candlemas Eve

    Down with the rosemary, and so
    Down with the bays and misletoe;
    Down with the holly, ivy, all,
    Wherewith ye dress’d the Christmas Hall :
    That so the superstitious find
    No one least branch there left behind :
    For look, how many leaves there be
    Neglected, there (maids, trust to me)
    So many goblins you shall see.

    I Am Christmas

    Here have I dwelled with more or lass
    From Hallowtide till Candelmas,
    And now must I from you hens pass;
    Now have good day.

    I take my leve of king and knight,
    And erl, baron, and lady bright;
    To wilderness I must me dight;
    Now have good day!

    And at the good lord of this hall
    I take my leve, and of gestes all;
    Me think I here Lent doth call;
    Now have good day!

    And at every worthy officere,
    Marshall, panter, and butlere
    I take my leve as for this yere;
    Now have good day!

    Another yere I trust I shall
    Make mery in this hall,
    If rest and peace in England fall;
    Now have good day!

    But oftentimes I have herd say
    That he is loth to part away
    That often biddeth ‘Have good day!”;
    Now have good day!

    Now fare ye well, all in fere,
    Now fare ye well for all this yere;
    Yet for my sake make ye good chere;
    Now have good day!

    And thus, we say goodbye to another Christmas season.

  • My neighbor farms a peach/apple orchard and recruited me to bow hunt the many woodchucks there. I was amazed to watch them climb up peach trees and pluck the peaches.

  • The Fourth Joyful Mystery, The Presentation. Desire the spirit of sacrifice. Think of Mary’s obedience to the Law of God in presenting the infant Jesus in the temple.

    DonL: I heard that woodchucks taste good. True? Most hunters hunt them with rifles. The youngest son arrowed a six point buck this Fall.

  • No mention of the great NYC groundhog cover-up scandal?

    Anyone remember how Mayor Bill De Blasio dropped the groundhog a couple of years ago and the death was hidden for months? Oh the shame!

  • T. Shaw; yup they taste good, dark meat, Barb “Q” sauce, but….if you eat them, spring never comes, so a word of caution there.
    What a thrill for your son.

Happy Groundhog Day!

Monday, February 2, AD 2015

What a gloriously silly event Groundhog Day is, when a nation turns its eye upon the predictive power of a large rodent seeing, or not seeing, his shadow.  It is completely ridiculous and long may we be a country that has time for the innocently ridiculous every now and then!

The earliest recorded reference to Groundhog Day was in the February 4, 1841 entry in his diary by James Morris of Morgantown, Philadelphia.

Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate.

Large scale celebrations of the day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania go back to 1886.  Long may they continue!

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6 Responses to Happy Groundhog Day!

  • The groundhog will pop back in his hole just to stay warm!

  • We do not have Groundhog Day in Scotland (no groundhogs), but we do have a little verse, current in my part of the country

    If Candlemas day be dry and fair,
    The half o’ winter ‘s to come and mair,
    If Candlemas day be wet and foul,
    The half of winter’s gane at Yule.
    If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
    There’ll be twa winters in the year.

    Candlemas is one of the Scottish term days (the equivalent of the English quarter days), on which rents and any unexinguished feu-duties are paid, the others being Whitsun, Lammas and Martinmas.

  • Groundhog Day is indeed a silly observance. It is frequently used as an excuse by area college students to imbibe to excess. Punxsutawney is about 100 miles from Pittsburgh and it gets lots of attention here.

    On a more serious note, today is my late father’s birthday, He has been gone for almost 21 years and I am approaching the age he was when he died. Fortunately for me, I’m in a lot better shape.

    Today is the Solemnity of the Purification of Mary, also the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple and Candlemas. The Gospel passage from St. Luke tells us today of the great joy of Simeon, who asked God not to take him until he had seen the Messiah. Simeon foretells the trials Jesus and Mary must go through in the future. We also hear of the old widow Anna, who worshiped at the Temple day and night, fasting.

    Today is the 40th day after Christmas Day, the end of Christmastide and the end of the Gospel passages about the infancy of Jesus. Certain Catholic majority countries observe Christmas (certainly not the USA) in some sense until this day.
    Just as Simeon announces that God can dismiss him (the Nunc Dimittis –
    Now dismiss Thy servant, O Lord,
    In peace, according to Thy word:
    For mine own eyes hath seen Thy salvation,
    Which Thou hast prepared in the sight of all the peoples,
    A light to reveal Thee to the nations
    And the glory of Thy people Israel.), we see that all things, seasons, chapters in our lives, and even our lives themselves come to an end.
    I feel a little sadness on this day. I miss my dad. I’m 51 and I have seen most of the Christmases I will see in my life. Septuagesima, the pre Lenten season that was done away with in the calendar of the Paul VI missal, has begun, overlapping Candlemas as it often does. We are nearly at the halfway point of winter according to the calendar. Of course, those of us in the North know that spring comes and winter goes when winter damn well feels like going and not one minute before.

    Today, I will light the blessed candles in the Advent wreath, pray with my boys, and then put away the Nativity set that has been displayed since advent and say goodbye to the Baby Jesus for another year. As usual, I post a poem and carol, from the St. John Cantius website, called “ceremony upon Candlemas Eve” and “I Am Christmas”, which speak of the end of the season and the coming of Lent.

    In any case, when Candlemas is finished, all feelings of Christmas give way to the penitential feelings of Septuagesima and then Lent. The English poet, Robert Herrick (A.D. 1591-1674), sums it up in his poem “Ceremony Upon Candlemas Eve”—and reveals a folktale in the process:

    Ceremony Upon Candlemas Eve

    Down with the rosemary, and so
    Down with the bays and misletoe ;
    Down with the holly, ivy, all,
    Wherewith ye dress’d the Christmas Hall :
    That so the superstitious find
    No one least branch there left behind :
    For look, how many leaves there be
    Neglected, there (maids, trust to me)
    So many goblins you shall see.

    This very ancient carol also speaks of the departure of Christmas on this day. It is called “I Am Christmas,” and was written by James Ryman, a Franciscan Friar, ca. 1492. Note that the reference to Hallowtide (the days of the dead centering around All Saints Day) here refers to the fact that it was during Hallowtide that monarchs used to announce where they would be spending Christmas.

    I Am Christmas

    Here have I dwelled with more or lass
    From Hallowtide till Candelmas,
    And now must I from you hens pass;
    Now have good day.

    I take my leve of king and knight,
    And erl, baron, and lady bright;
    To wilderness I must me dight;
    Now have good day!

    And at the good lord of this hall
    I take my leve, and of gestes all;
    Me think I here Lent doth call;
    Now have good day!

    And at every worthy officere,
    Marshall, panter, and butlere
    I take my leve as for this yere;
    Now have good day!

    Another yere I trust I shall
    Make mery in this hall,
    If rest and peace in England fall;
    Now have good day!

    But oftentimes I have herd say
    That he is loth to part away
    That often biddeth ‘Have good day!”;
    Now have good day!

    Now fare ye well, all in fere,
    Now fare ye well for all this yere;
    Yet for my sake make ye good chere;
    Now have good day!

    Fish fries are coming, a big event in the Pittsburgh area. When my son John was younger, he called them “Jesus Christ Restaraunt”.

  • “On a more serious note, today is my late father’s birthday, He has been gone for almost 21 years and I am approaching the age he was when he died. Fortunately for me, I’m in a lot better shape.”

    My Dad died 23 years ago this month PF. I daresay that he was in better shape than I am, except that he smoked and was a social drinker, two habits I have never acquired. He died just short of his 58th birthday and I turn 58 this Friday. Such a milestone is definitely a cause for reflection.

  • Such a milestone is definitely a cause for reflection.

    I’ve got a year to go, myself re that milestone. Haven’t touched the liquor or tobacco he was fond of in 20-odd years (though I’m told social drinking is not harmful). My father offered at age 48 some satisfaction that he’d gotten through the previous eight years without any notable health problems at a time in life when his father had been chronically ill with one thing and then another. Less energetic than pa in every respect and remembering every man in my paternal-line pedigree back to the colonial period died of something different but (bar one) in the same age range, so I’m curious what’s after me. (My brother is busting the curve, of course. Older brothers are always out to get you).

  • If only men dressed as savantly for Mass. My computer has been down since last Thursday. Operating Systems twice. Lost 4 pounds and counting. I gave up crying wailing and the like.
    In the meantime, I wrote a piece about Carl Rogers’ “ON Becoming a Person” since my children were subjected to it in Catholic school, fifth grade, and how Carl Rogers impacted HOPE and CHANGE. The machine ate it (and got indigestion).
    My time at the library is up.
    Prayers.

12 Responses to It’s Groundhog Day!

  • Punxsutawney Phil makes his false prediction not far from Pittsburgh, where here it was cold and snowy. Groundhog Day has become a smaller version of the American observance of St. Patrick’s Day, an excuse to get drunk.

    A far greater Catholic observance today is the Feast of the Presentation, known concurrently in the Extraordinary form as the Purfication of Mary and Candlemas. I know that St. John Cantius in Chicago celebrates the EF High Mass on this day, complete with the lighting and blessing of candles. As today is the 40th day after Christmas, Mary observed the Mosaic Law to be purified after her womb was opened by the birth of her firstborn son. Jesus was also presented to God the Father. Neither was obligated to observe these rituals, but they were observed.

    I found these on the St. John Cantius website:

    The Nunc Dimittis is recited today:

    Now dismiss Thy servant, O Lord,
    In peace, according to Thy word:
    For mine own eyes hath seen Thy salvation,
    Which Thou hast prepared in the sight of all the peoples,
    A light to reveal Thee to the nations
    And the glory of Thy people Israel.

    In any case, when Candlemas is finished, all feelings of Christmas give way to the penitential feelings of Septuagesima and then Lent. The English poet, Robert Herrick (A.D. 1591-1674), sums it up in his poem “Ceremony Upon Candlemas Eve”—and reveals a folktale in the process:

    Ceremony Upon Candlemas Eve

    Down with the rosemary, and so
    Down with the bays and misletoe ;
    Down with the holly, ivy, all,
    Wherewith ye dress’d the Christmas Hall :
    That so the superstitious find
    No one least branch there left behind :
    For look, how many leaves there be
    Neglected, there (maids, trust to me)
    So many goblins you shall see.

    This very ancient carol also speaks of the departure of Christmas on this day. It is called “I Am Christmas,” and was written by James Ryman, a Franciscan Friar, ca. 1492. Note that the reference to Hallowtide (the days of the dead centering around All Saints Day) here refers to the fact that it was during Hallowtide that monarchs used to announce where they would be spending Christmas.

    I Am Christmas

    Here have I dwelled with more or lass
    From Hallowtide till Candelmas,
    And now must I from you hens pass;
    Now have good day.

    I take my leve of king and knight,
    And erl, baron, and lady bright;
    To wilderness I must me dight;
    Now have good day!

    And at the good lord of this hall
    I take my leve, and of gestes all;
    Me think I here Lent doth call;
    Now have good day!

    And at every worthy officere,
    Marshall, panter, and butlere
    I take my leve as for this yere;
    Now have good day!

    Another yere I trust I shall
    Make mery in this hall,
    If rest and peace in England fall;
    Now have good day!

    But oftentimes I have herd say
    That he is loth to part away
    That often biddeth ‘Have good day!”;
    Now have good day!

    Now fare ye well, all in fere,
    Now fare ye well for all this yere;
    Yet for my sake make ye good chere;
    Now have good day!

    Tonight we will light the candles I kept on the extra Advent wreath, say our prayers as a family, put away the Nativity set and, as Holy Church says, put away all feelings of Christmas and move on to pre – Lent (Sexagesima tomorrow, also St. Blaise Day, the blessing of throats.)

    Today is my Dad’s birthday. He died 19 years ago. He would have been 76.

  • “For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day / So far will the snow swirl until the May.”

  • Penguins Fan,

    Your PaPa IS proud.
    Yes, is. You have given us and him a beautiful gift.

    Bless you.

  • Here are two traditional rhymes about winter and Candlemas from Ayrshire, in Scotland, where I stay.

    If Candlemas day be dry and fair,
    The half o’ winter‘s to come and mair,
    If Candlemas day be wet and foul,
    The half of winter’s gane at Yule.

    and, more briefly,

    If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
    There’ll be twa winters in the year.

    No animal associations, however.

    Although the Reformers abolished religious feast days, Candlemas survived as one of the traditional Scottish term and quarter days, on which tenancies began and ended and rent was paid,

  • Philip, thank you.

    As I get older…I will be 50 this year, I realize that I have lived through most of the Christmas seasons (Easter, summertime, too) that I will get to experience. As such, Candlemas has a twinge of sadness, as it is the Church who closes the book on another Christmas season (even though Christmas ended on Christmas Day for almost every American).

    As Candlemas was cold and snowy, I have little fear of snow in May – which I remember once in my life, when I was 10.

    Don’t forget to have your throats blessed today.

  • P. Fan-
    Welcome.
    52 years this July for me. When I was much younger I was a pro. Patroller for a N. Mich. Ski resort. A freak snow storm dropped enough snow on the hill in June of 1964 that three Natl. Ski Patrollers climbed and skied a run that day of the storm. So goes the account.

    I had my throat blessed last night at Mass.
    Take care.

  • The groundhog legend makes more sense if you view it simply as a caution against presuming that sunny and mild weather this time of year (which would cause the groundhog to see his shadow) is out of the ordinary or that it means an early end to winter.

  • Yesterday was Candlemas.

    February 3 is the 100th anniversary of the US Income Tax (the 16th Amendment).

    Happy Birthday IRS Form 1040!

    Early heads up: 23 December 2013 will be the 100th birthday of Fred, a.k.a., the Federal Reserve.

    Some think two of the gravest disasters in US history . . .

  • John Henry Newman wrote a poem for Candlemas:

    The Angel-lights of Christmas morn
    Which shot across the sky,
    Away they pass at Candlemas,
    They sparkle and they die.

    Comfort of life is brief at best,
    Although it be divine;
    Like funeral lights for Christmas gone,
    Old Simeon’s tapers shine.

    And then for eight long weeks and more
    We wait in twilight gray,
    Till the tall candle sheds a beam
    On Holy Saturday.

    We wait along the penance-tide
    Of solemn fast and prayer;
    While song is hushed, and light grows dim
    In the sin-laden air.

    And while the sword in Mary’s side
    Is driven home, we hide
    In our own hearts, and count the wounds
    Of passion and of pride.

    And still, though Candlemas be spent
    And Alleluias o’er,
    Mary is music in our need
    And Jesus light in store.

  • don’t you just love John Henry Cardinal Newman!!
    And still, though Candlemas be spent
    And Alleluias o’er,
    Mary is music in our need
    And Jesus light in store.

  • Anzlyne, those are beautiful.

    In the Extraordinary Form calendar, the pre-Lent penitential season known on Sundays as Septuagesima, Sexagesima, etc. have begun, due to the early date of Resurrection Sunday.

    Just three days after Candlemas we are at the point of midwinter, and (usually, but not this year) The Solemnity of the Annunciation ensues a few days after the first day of Spring – almost as if Lent, being a penitential season, is also the (approximate) time of the year without the baby Jesus.

    A year or two ago, I posted a comment on a Yahoo hockey blog, run by someone with a Polish name, but by all accounts a gay marriage promoter. He made some remarks about March 25 being National Waffle Day. I pointed out what March 25 really is and he dared not argue.

  • Penguins Fan

    “Midwinter,” the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, when the upper limb of the sun touches the tropic of Capricorn, falls on the 21st and, occasionally, on the 22nd December in the Gregorian calendar, using Universal or Greenwich Mean time.

5 Responses to Happy Groundhog Day!

Groundhog Predicts an Early Spring

Wednesday, February 2, AD 2011

 

Happy Groundhog Day to all our readers!  Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow so we may expect an early Spring, if one assumes that a particular individual of Marmota monax has predictive powers in regard to weather.  Phil has an accuracy rate of 39% which I imagine is better than Al Gore’s weather related prognostications.  Oh well, back to shoveling snow for me.

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One Response to Groundhog Predicts an Early Spring

  • Spring can’t possibly come early enough!

    Got to ice skate to the RR two hours late this morning. At least I didn’t fall and break my keyster. How would I go to the bathroom?

5 Responses to Its Groundhog Day!