Candlemas? Where are you people coming from? It's GROUNDHOG DAY! And the liturgies are played out only in Punxsatawny, Pa., with the notable Punxsatawny Phil. As some of us still say over on the Ecunet Board, Bunga! Bunga! Draw the Sacred Circle!
Actually I come from York County, Pennsylvania, home to two hibernating marmots, York's "Poor Richard" who, since his unfortunate demise, is summoned by seance (yes, the holiday has degenerated that far) and, from the land of the great "Intelligent Design" litigation of a few years back, "Dover Doug".
It is folklore based on observation that the "cross quarter days" --the midpoints between the equinoxes and solstices--tend to be inversely predictive. The weather on those days in generally opposite what will characterize the next 90 days. After fourteen years of daily weather observations I would state that this is correct at least 75% of the time.
Now how this relates to Candlemass: Imagine gathering near sunrise for the Eucharist which, of course, begins with the lighting of individual candles and processing into the Nave. If the day was dark and forbidding the glow of the candles would be quite noticeable and downright cheering; if, by contrast, the day was clear and bright the candles' light would be barely noticeable (and some might even grumble, "Why are we doing this?"). The weather predictions quite aside, a clear day could understandably be perceived as an ill-omen.
How der Grundsau
enters into this I'm not completely sure, despite having Pennsylvania Dutch roots that extend into the mid eighteenth century. But living on five wooded acres I know that many animals begin to stir from their hibernation at this stage of the winter. Several mornings a week I am greeted by the stench of skunks, the residue of the males' overnight mating battles. And I have seen an occasional groundhog on warm afternoons.
Still, it is a failure of liturgical catechesis that more Christians know more about Groundhog Day than they do about Candlemass.
So much for "revealing to the nations."
Simeon and Anna would weep with heart-pierced sorrow.