In graduate school in Pittsburgh, not far from the Punxsutawney home of the famed groundhog, I acquired a groundhog cookie cutter and began making groundhog cookies every February 2. Sometime later, I dug deeper and found religious connections to Groundhog Day.
February 2 was traditionally called Candlemas Day. Falling midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, Candlemas historically was a day to bring candles to church to be blessed, drawing upon Simeon’s statement that Jesus is a “light to reveal” God to the nations (Luke 2:32). In some traditions, a bonfire was made with Christmas trees, signaling the end of the Christmas season. As a sign of new beginnings, many commit to new goals on Candlemas.
So today you could be wondering how much more winter you will see. You could be focusing on the returning light and blessing some candles. You could be making new commitments. You could be joining in Simeon’s song. As for me, I’ll be baking some groundhog cookies.
This message is excerpted from “What day is it?” by Linda Post Bushkofsky from the February 2, 2010, blog of the Women of the ELCA. Today is the festival of the Presentation of our Lord. Today is Groundhog Day.
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