If Candlemas Day is clear and bright, winter will have another bite. If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain, winter is gone and will not come again.
When: February 2nd every year.
Where: Many places around the world.
Día de la Candelaria, Day of the Candles or Candlemas, is celebrated in many parts of the world. Also known as Groundhog Day, Imbolc or St Brigid’s Day, the festival is a fusion of Spanish Catholic influences, pagan traditions and weather superstitions.
The celebration of Candlemas originated in the late fifth century and it is celebrated with most enthusiasm in South America, Mexico and Spain. Candles are blessed, lit, and carried in colourful processions in celebration of Jesus being the light of the world. It is also the celebration of the purification of Mary, forty days after the birth of Jesus. In many countries, Candlemas is seen as the end of the Christmas season, when the decorations are taken down, the greenery burned with the remnants of the Yule log and the ashes spread over the gardens to ensure a good harvest.February 2nd also marks the mid-way point between the winter solstice and spring equinox (in Britain’s Celtic times this was known as Imbolc or St Brigid’s Day) and has long been thought to be a predictor of the weather ahead. In the States February 2nd is known as Groundhog Day, where according to tradition, if it is cloudy when a groundhog pokes his nose out from his burrow, it will happily leave the burrow, signifying that winter will soon end. If on the other hand, it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly “see its shadow” and retreat back into its burrow, and winter will continue for six more weeks. The largest Groundhog Day celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania which became famous worldwide as a result of the 1993 film, Groundhog Day, set in Punxsutawney.
What do you celebrate on February 2nd? Please tell us all about it! You can share your pics and videos on our facebook page too! Or if you just want to say hi, or leave a comment for any other reason, we’d love to hear from you.
Food & Drink
In France, Candlemas is celebrated with crêpes, which must be eaten only after 8pm. If the cook can flip a crêpe one handed whilst holding a coin in the other hand, the family is assured of prosperity throughout the coming year. In Ancient Britain the Celts celebrated with foods made with butter and milk – bannocks, for example were a type of flat griddle scone. In Southern and Central Mexico, and Guatemala City, Día de La Candelaria is celebrated with tamales, a traditional Latin American dish made of starchy corn dough, steamed and wrapped in a leaf. Tamales are often filled with meats, cheese, vegetables, chillies etc. The Spanish throw a party, hosted by the person who found the baby Jesus in the Roscón cake at Epiphany.
The most colourful of celebrations are in Bolivia and Peru, centered around Lake Titicaca in Puno (the Virgin of Candelaria being the patron saint of Puno), and the small village of Copacabana. The airport closest to Puno is located in a town called Juliaca.
Dates / venues may be subject to change or cancellation. Distances may be straight-line estimates. Please verify information before booking.
Enjoy your trip! And when you’re home we’d love you to come back and tell us all about it!