Fun way to remember spring is coming
To the editor:
Independent publisher, Gregory Orear, shared a delightful conversation with his 5-year-old
daughter in the Saturday paper (Feb. 3) about Groundhog Day. He noted that the date
coincides with a religious festival.
Readers might be interested to know that Feb. 2 is also known as Candlemas Day.
Forty days after the birth of a child, Hebrew women observed a rite of purification. Forty days
after Christmas is Feb. 2. On that day, Mary and Joseph went to the temple at Jerusalem, with Jesus, from the home where they were staying in Bethlehem.
Candles became a part of this observance, symbolizing the words elderly Simeon spoke to God, in the temple as he held the infant Jesus in his arms : “.. . a light to lighten the Gentiles and for the glory of your people Israel.” (Luke 2:32)
The prophet Isaiah wrote similar words, describing Jesus as a light for all people, 800 years earlier.
As Orear noted, in Germany this festival became connected with speculation about the coming of spring — watching for the emergence of the badger from hibernation. A sunny day sounds great except on Groundhog’s Day; according to legend, the groundhog is frightened by its shadow if the sun is shining, and returns to his hole for six more weeks, meaning six more weeks of winter.
Shadow or not, the event is a fun way to remember spring is coming!