by Rita Hooper
Today is Candlemas Day – I know you thought it was Groundhog’s Day. You’re right on that score but it’s also Candlemas Day and in a strange way they are connected.
Candlemas is a religious holiday that you can read about in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2 vs. 22-40. It marks the purification of Mary (40 days after the birth of a male son) as required by Jewish women of the time. They were required to bring two turtle doves or pigeons and for those who could afford it, a lamb to the temple. This was also the first time that Jesus was offered to God.
Candlemas is sometimes called the Festival of Lights, as Jesus is known as the Light of the World. In olden times, people would bring the candles that they planned to use in the coming year to the church for a blessing. Candles brought not only light but were thought to have powers to ward off illness and other bad things.
It’s also interesting to note, that legend has it that if you haven’t taken down all your Christmas decorations by Twelfth Night (Jan. 5) they should be left up until Candlemas Day and then taken down! Make sure to check around your house…there are probably one or two decorations just hanging around somewhere!
Groundhog’s Day also happens Feb. 2. It marks the mid-point of winter — halfway between the shortest day and the spring equinox. Thousands of years ago when animalism and nature worship were prevalent, people in the area of Europe now known as Germany believed that the badger had the power to predict the coming of spring.
If the sun made an appearance on Candlemas Day, an animal would cast a shadow, thus predicting six more weeks of winter.
They watched the badger for the shadow to know when to plant their crops. By the time the first German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania they probably understood that this was not true but the tradition continued.
The groundhog, woodchuck, marmot, waking from winter hibernation, replaced the badger in Pennsylvania.
Punxsutawney, Pa. is a community 84 miles northeast of Pittsburgh and 100 miles south of Erie, Pa. The most famous resident of Punxsutawney is a groundhog by the name of Phil. He was named after King Phillip. He lives at Gobbler’s Knob and every year since 1887, he has been visited by thousands of people and numerous radio and TV personalities to see if he sees his shadow.
If the sun shines on Groundhog Day, you are only half way through winter, so you had better have half your hay and half your fuel left. If there is no shadow, you can look forward to an early spring. Sure hope our winter gets a little milder if Phil sees his shadow!
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Sons of the American Legion will hold a chicken barbecue tomorrow, Feb. 3 from noon until gone. Eat in or take-out. The Legion is on Rochester Street.
The Hannibal Christmas Bureau would like to thank everyone who donated time, money or items to the 2012 Christmas Bureau. We gave 172 needy families in the Hannibal School District boxes with food and toys.
The Menu for next week at the Senior Nutrition Program is as follows:
Monday, Feb. 4: lasagna with meat sauce, vegetable blend, and ice cream.
Wednesday, Feb. 6: baked chicken thigh, rice pilaf, zucchini and tomatoes, and cookie.
Friday, Feb. 8: hamburger on roll, garlic red potatoes, vegetable, and applesauce,
Senior Nutrition meets at the Senior Center, next to the Library on Oswego Street. Give Rosemary a call and make your reservation now at 564-5471.
By the way, they are looking for some folks to join their Wii bowling team; give Rosemary a call!
Don’t forget, Bone Builders don’t take the winter off. They meet at the American Legion Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:45 a.m. If you have osteoporosis, there is help for you and your bones. Stop in and check it out or give Louise Kellogg a call.
A blood drive will be held Wednesday, Feb. 6 at the Hannibal Fire House on Oswego Street. Sponsored by the Fire company auxiliary, it will run from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 1-800 RED CROSS to schedule your appointment for blood donation.
The Hannibal Methodist Church is serving a free lunch (donations for this ministry accepted though) Thursdays at 11:30 a.m. Don’t eat alone, come on down and join the fun and fellowship.
The Hannibal Free Library will be holding a Holiday Basket Raffle Feb. 9. Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras will be included. Make sure to stop by the library and check it out – along with a book or two to curl up with!
Those Elderberries will meet Feb. 12 for a covered dish dinner at noon Please bring your own table service and a dish to pass.
“Age of Champions” will be shown following the business meeting. Remember, they meet at the Library/Community Center on Oswego Street.
The Hannibal Park Committee has announced that they will be holding a Family Fun Day at the park, next to the Municipal Building, Saturday, Feb. 23 from noon until 3 p.m. The town hall will be open for refreshments and warming up. A great afternoon of sledding and fun in the snow is planned.
If you know that your organization is planning an event and you don’t see it in the Hannibal column, please e-mail me or give me a buzz (both are posted at the top of this column).
This column is to keep those in Hannibal, Florida, Arizona and points in between and around the globe posted on what’s shaking in our fair community. Some of us still like to read the happenings, the ole fashioned way!