Candlemas Day

Shubenacadie Sam, Nova Scotia’s groundhog, did not see his shadow today. According to tradition this means we’ll have an early spring.

However, down in Pennsylvania, Puxsutawney Phil did see his shadow. It’s weird that spring will be in Canada before it arrives in the USA.

This is an ancient Christian celebration dating back longer than I’ve been alive. Known as Candlemas Day, it marked the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year while spring equinox is when there is an equal amount of daylight as there is night time. Today, we’re right smack in the middle. You might have noticed that it’s light for just a bit longer than it was at the same time a month ago.

Anyway, clergy would bless candles and then pass said candles out to the people. The superstition was as true back then as it is today. If there is sun we’ll have six more weeks of winter and if it’s cloudy then spring will come early. Sometime later, the Germans introduced the hedgehog into the prediction. If their hedgehog saw his shadow then we’d have more bad weather, a second winter.

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again

When the German then migrated to the New World they brought their lederhosen and traditions with them. However, due to a lack of hedgehogs in Pennsylvania, they switched to groundhogs.

In 1886, just 110 years after the US declared their independence, a newspaper by the name of Punxsutawney Spirit, printed the first news of Groundhog Day to be observed. The next year, The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club celebrated for the first time at Gobbler’s Knob.  The editor of that paper declared Punxsutawney Phil to be America’s whether forecasting groundhog.

Wikipedia lists 26 prognosticators. Thirteen saw their shadow and predict six more weeks of winter. For those you who struggle with math, that leaves thirteen others who are predicting an early spring. I guarantee at least half of the 26 are right.

Technically, we have 6 more weeks of winter no matter what the groundhogs and hedgehogs say.

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My Thankful Post

Once upon a time there was a family who celebrated Thanksgiving on a farm. So many family members attended that two tables were needed to sit everyone. There was so much food, two tables were need to hold it all. One of the seats was a church pew. There was much talking and laughter. There were bumping elbows and food stolen off plates. There was always one dish getting passed the wrong direction.  Through the years we ranged in age from newborn to grandparents.

After a hearty meal, the table cleared off and the dishes cleaned and put away, there would be football and parade watching on TV. They would doze in and out of tryptophan comas.

Well rested, the boys would gather in the front yard for some pigskin tossing and tackling. “Down 42! Blue! HUT HUT HUT!” Just like they were a Pittsburgh Steeler or a Dallas Cowboy. On warmer occasions, the girls would participate and it would become a family game of two hand touch .

Today, while the table remains, not as many gather around it this Thanksgiving. My grandfather, having passed away many years ago, no longer steals food from my mother. My brother and his family are now in South Korea. I and my family are now in Canada. My cousins are scattered up and down the east coast from Florida to Maryland. Some are travelling the world. There is no more football in the front yard.

The times have changed and nothing seems as it was in the “good old days”. Our gratitude, however, remains healthy and constant. Forever are we thankful for those days together. Thankful we could share a table with so much family, with so much love. Differences were set aside for a few hours of food and fun. Quarrels were ignored in the spirit of the holiday.

The newborns are now great grandchildren. Grandparents now outnumber children. Blessings outnumber worries. And we’ll celebrate American Thanksgiving here.

Happy Thanksgiving…

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Christmas Around the World

Since joining WordPress, I have connected with people from around the world. It’s incredible to read about Christmas in Australia where it’s summer time and they go to the beach and it’s light until 9:30pm. Oh, and it’s hot.

Obviously, it’s cold here in the northern hemisphere. Here in Canada, it’s cold for a long, long time. And it gets dark at 4:30.

This causes Christmas traditions to be vastly different. We typically decorate our houses in festive colors and decorative lights. We put up Christmas trees – some use real tress, some use fake ones. We decorate them with lights, bulbs, and ornaments bought and ornaments homemade. Some add garland or tinsel or candy canes. I’ve seen strings of popcorn and cranberries.

Carolers will walk through town spreading Christmas spirit and good cheer with their songs.

Some go to a Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.

There are so many different traditions around the world. Please share some (in the comment section) that you practice in your corner of the Earth.

 

 

 

Just Another Tuesday

As I sit here staring out the kitchen window wait for whatever it is I’m going to write about today to come through, I see a crow in the bird feeder. Really, it’s a bird bath, but we put food in it for the crows. He didn’t bring me any ideas either. Not even a shiny thing.

Bang had a short playdate with a friend because our cooking class was cancelled due an unforeseen emergency. So a friend came over. Instead of playing with the toys they played with the mop and vacuum. This is my kind of playdate!

We already gathered up the garbage for Kyle and Lewis. They came with their big garbage truck to pick up our garbage. The recycling truck is here now. This is also a big deal. Bang plasters himself to the window to watch. Though, he doesn’t like to get close. He says they’re too loud.

We are currently sitting here watching Justin Time and eating apples. After lunch is finished, we’ll be heading out to take down the trampoline. Time to winterize it by putting it away. While it does open a good bit of space in the backyard, it’s also an easy source of entertainment and exercise.

Halloween is coming up. We’ve received an invite to a Halloween party this weekend. Unfortunately, it’s in Australia. So I think we’ll have to decline this year. We’ll go trick or treating instead. We’ve developed a bit of a Halloween tradition since moving here.

First we go see Nanny and Guppy in the next town over. They love to see the kids and they always put together a wicked treat bag for the kids. We visit a couple friends houses while we’re there. Then it’s back to our town for supper at McDonald’s. Something fast and easy so we can get back to candy collecting. Then we visit Nanny and Pop. Again, another wicked treat bag for the kids. We’ll walk around the block trick or treating. Then drive to a few friends houses.

Back home we consolidate the loot, give the kids one small treat from the pile, then ship them off to bed. We don’t get many trick or treaters where we live. We just leave a bowl of treats on the front porch with a note instructing the treaters to take one or two. Sometime there is still some left when we get home, sometimes it’s gone. Either way works for us.  We enjoy going out more than we do staying home and handing out. It’s a family event for us.

We have some fun costumes this year. It’s the first year we’ve all dressed to the same theme. I won’t give it away until after Halloween, though. Sorry, not sorry. Some have seen it since we were just at a kids Halloween party last weekend. Some parents, including DW and I dressed up as well.

So we’re just hanging out on this regular Tuesday. We have some jobs to do. But mostly we’re just anxiously waiting to go trick-or-treating.

What are you up to today?