Interesting tidbit, at least in my geeky view (;-), learned from reading so many history books: Candlemas marks the 40th day after Christmas, and is considered the day of the "churching" of Jesus and Mary....mothers waited 40 days after childbirth before attending church for the first time, and were then considered "clean" again! In medieval times it also marked the end of the Christmas Season. But.... you know what else it means? Only 325 days 'til next Christmas ;-).
According to TimeandDate.com, our Groundhog Day tradition stems from a belief held long ago in parts of Europe that the badger had the power to predict the coming of spring. People would watch the badger to know when to plant their crops. This belief carried over to the New World, where it became the groundhog who would make these “predictions”. Modern folklore dictates that if if the groundhog will sees its shadow on February 2 it will return to its burrow and there will be six more weeks of winter. If it does not see its shadow, then spring is on the way!
The first Groundhog Day was celebrated 124 years ago today, Feb. 2, 1887, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. However, the tradition did not gain widespread popularity in Canada until the 1960's.
I found this cute cake idea on Serious Eats... if you have the time to make dessert, it is sure to please the kids!
Have a good one!
edit/update: NLC reports that Ontario's Wiarton Willie, Alberta's Balzac Billy and Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil failed to see their shadow this morning, predicting an early spring!