Groundhog's Day

In France, the holiday on February 2 is called La Chandeleur (Candlemas, or feast of the candles), or Fête des lumières (festival of lights). Marking the midpoint of winter, between the shortest day of the year and the spring equinox, Candlemas offers protection and light, with its own weather sayings that would make a groundhog proud. Several of the proverbs are:

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another fight.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter won’t come again.

If Candlemas Day be dry and fair,
The half o the winter’s to come and mair;
If Candlemas Day be wet and foul,
The half o the winter’s gane at Yule.

A farmer should, on Candlemas Day,
Have half his corn and half his hay.
On Candlemas Day if the thorns hang adrop,
You can be sure of a good pea crop.

There are many French proverbs and sayings. Here are just a few, with their translations:

À la Chandeleur, l’hiver cesse ou reprend vigueur
(On Candlemas, winter ends or strengthens)

À la Chandeleur, le jour croît de deux heures
(On Candlemas, the day grows by two hours)

Chandeleur couverte, quarante jours de perte
(Candlemas covered [in snow], forty days lost)

Rosée à la Chandeleur, hiver à sa dernière heure
(Dew on Candlemas, winter at its final hour)

The German have their own saying:

The badger peeps out of his hole on Candlemas Day, and, if he finds snow, walks abroad; but if he sees the sun shining he draws back into his hole.

Sound familiar?

And don’t forget the crepes! The lay term for this holiday is Crepe Day or Pancake Day, because we celebrate in France by eating a lot of crepes.

Crepe Day or Pancake Day

Here’s a recipe from the blog of Lou Messugo:

On Candlemas, we also play this game: As you are making a crepe, hold the pan in your non-dominant hand while holding a coin in the hand you use to write with; flip the crepe in the air, and if you catch it in the pan, you and your family will have a prosperous year.

This is a great game to simulate in classrooms or at home, or even, perhaps, while sipping an adult beverage. Have each student gently toss a tennis ball and try to catch it—using his or her non-preferred hand, of course! The traditional cup-and-ball game with a ball tethered to a string is another difficult variation (bilbocatch, or bilboquet in French); even a Velcro throw and toss, when attempted with the non-dominant hand, is a difficult challenge! Remember to hold a coin in the writing hand to keep the hand occupied and increase difficulty.

Whatever the groundhog’s prediction, or the weather on Candlemas, you can relax knowing that for the remainder of winter your property is in good hands with A Votre Service! Contact us for all your property needs, from home organizing to renovation cleanup, window cleaning to snow removal.

And should another blizzard arrive, we are here to help!