This year marks my first Candlemas celebration. The decision stemmed mostly from my desire to add another holiday to the dark months after Christmas is over, but before spring fully arrives. Candlemas has roots in the pagan holiday called Imbolc, which honors the beginning of spring and is usually celebrated on February 1st. Imbolc originally celebrated the goddess Brigid, but the festival was later Christianized and now celebrates St. Brigid’s feast day. Now in most Catholic calendars Candlemas commemorates Jesus’ presentation at the temple and the celebration has changed to February 2nd. While people around the world still celebrate Imbolc on the 1st, I chose to observe Candlemas on February 2nd as it coincides with Groundhog Day, which shares many of the same themes of transition from winter to spring. Also, Candlemas is a holiday observed in some Waldorf schools, and I always feel close to those traditions. So this year, with the help of Kevin, I added a new celebration to my calendar!
To celebrate, I did some research on Waldorf websites, and found that pancakes are often cooked on Candlemas to represent the round and golden sun returning after winter. So, of course, I gathered my ingredients and cooked chocolate chip pancakes served with jam and butter.
We laid the table with some beeswax candles (shh they are contraband in campus residences) as well as fresh flowers that Kevin bought at the market. Along with steaming mugs of English breakfast tea, we sat down to muse over the transition from winter to spring.
While we ate, we read some verses aloud that I picked for spring, including E.E. Cummings, William Wordsworth, Claude McKay, and a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt. After the verses were read, we wrote down some hopes for the coming year, similar to New Year’s resolutions, and talked about what we hoped to accomplish, overcome, or practice.
For the coming months, I hope to practice mindfulness, work on my yoga and meditation, and move forward with gratitude for all the lovely things I experience each day. Later, as Kevin and I took a little walk, we saw more sparrows and some grey mourning doves picking through the grass. I paused to notice some wild onions growing by the road, and little bulbs poking through the earth. It seems we really are moving towards spring, and I was glad to be part of the celebration.
Lines Written in Early Spring
By William Wordsworth
I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.
To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.
Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.
The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:—
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.
The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.
If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?