Tuesday, February 2nd, is the Feast of the Presentation marking Jesus’ first entry into the temple, forty days after His birth. It has also been marked as the Purification, the return of Mary to the Temple following the birth of her child. Over time the blessing of candles became associated with these feasts and processions would be held with lighted candles in anticipation of the return of days of more sunlight.
The Blessing of the Candles for use in homes was a reminder that there were still long days of darkness and winter to be endured. To make the feast a little more fun German Christians began to associate the activities of hedgehogs with a prediction of the end of winter. When German settlers came to North America, woodchucks (groundhogs) were more plentiful. Our Groundhog Day has its roots in Christian tradition and anticipation and hope. But the day is even more significant as we recall the groundhog gale that nearly blew the socks of the city 45 years ago! However you see Feb. 2nd it gives us reason to be grateful for our faith and a reassurance that all things will pass, even winter and the pandemic!