Today is La Chandeleur or Candlemas, the day when farmers and gardeners alike look to the weather to foretell when winter will end and spring arrive. As the old French proverbs declare;
À la Chandeleur, l’hiver cesse 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 February is clear, winter is behind us. If the Chandeleur is overcast, winter will last another forty days.
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 1.25pm French time Punxsutawney Phil gave his verdict for 2016; having failed to see his shadow, spring will come early to USA.
At 1.25pm in la Corrèze, France the sky was grey and it was pouring down, so according to French proverbs winter will last for a further 40 days and I’ll sadly have to keep my vegetable and plant seeds sealed in their packets a while longer!
Could I perhaps cheat and observe the English proverb instead?
If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another fight.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter won’t come again.
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, so please do leave your comments in the box below.