Today is La Chandeleur or Candlemas, the day when farmers and gardeners alike look to the skies to foretell when winter will end and spring arrive. As the old French proverbs declare;
À la Chandeleur, l’hiver se passe ou reprend vigueur. On Candlemas, winter ends or strengthens.
Quand la Chandeleur est claire, l’hiver est par derrière; Chandeleur couverte, quarante jours de perte! If Candlemas is clear, winter is behind us. If Candlemas is overcast, winter will last another forty days.
La Chandeleur or Fêtes des chandelles, is a day when the French commemorate the purification of the Virgin Mary and the presentation of Jesus at the Temple. Candlemas is traditionally celebrated in France by the eating of pancakes and the telling of fortunes;
“In your right hand hold the crêpe pan, in the other a coin or piece of gold. Flip the pancake into the air and if you manage to catch the pancake back in the pan your family will have a prosperous year.”
France is not alone in predicting the end of winter today, 2nd February is also Groundhog Day in USA. In the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, every 2nd February, a furry little groundhog called Phil emerges out of his burrow from hibernation and looks for his own shadow.
Legend says that if it is sunny and the groundhog sees his own shadow then he will take fright and go back into his burrow; winter will then last for a further six weeks. If it is cloudy and he does not see his own shadow, then warmer temperatures can be expected and spring will arrive early.
Today’s predictions for the end of winter and the coming of spring
Today at about 1.22pm French time Punxsutawney Phil gave his verdict for 2018; having seen his shadow, winter will continue for a further six weeks in the USA.
At 1.22pm in la Corrèze, France, the sky was a mixture of blue and grey! Admittedly I’m a little confused as to whether that means winter is over or will last for a further 40 days!!
Winter may stay, winter may go, but being in France I can at least celebrate La Chandeleur as the French do; by eating pancakes and dreaming of warmer times!
I’d love to know what Candlemas has forecast for you today, please do leave your comments in the box below.