Thursday, February 3

Turning the wheel

"The body of WHAT?"
Yesterday was Groundhog Day aka...

Feast of Cornelius the Centurion (among others)
Feast of Our Lady of the Navigators
Feast of St. Brigid (depending on where you are)
Feast of the Virgin of Candaleria
Meeting of Our Lord
Naming of Jesus
Presentation of Jesus at the Temple
Purification of the Virgin
World Day for Consecrated Life

I don't celebrate all of these. Honestly, I rarely celebrate ANY of these. Some questions comes to mind, though. If you DO celebrate one or more, why? Do you know the stories behind the specifics and what significance (if any) do those stories hold for you? Did you have a crepe yesterday? Did you know that it's traditional to do so? Does that matter? Should it matter?   I've waxed rhapsodic (or is that rapped quixotic) about tradition several times in the past, but I want to consider the matter from a different angle.

I'd like to look at the first and arguably least controversial of the list for use as an example. 

Groudhog day.

Are you Pennsylvania Dutch? That's where the tradition comes from.
Did you know that there are dozens of groundhogs from Alabama to Alaska that have to endure the annual celebrity, not just Punxsutawney Phil?
Easier question...have you actually SEEN a groundhog in the flesh?
Do you believe in the prognostication prowess of a rodent?
Is this a 'real' holiday in your mind, a kitch/quaint old custom without relevance, a pseudo-holiday like 'Talk Like a Pirate' day or perhaps no more than a 'shaggy dog' at the end of the evening news?

I could go on...and I could have chosen one of the 'real' holidays listed above. It really doesn't matter, though. I'm not from the Canary Islands and not a hard-core Marian, so the Virgin of Candaleria isn't any more 'real' than groundhog day. Not saying that it is, in any way, wrong, silly or stupid...rather saying that it is not part of my cultural heritage or identity and the meaning behind the feast day has little to no personal resonance.

Imbolc/Candlemas/St. Brigid...that's different.   The three are tied together and all are about the procession of the year.  Imbolc is the ancient celebration of the cross-quarter day, when the days get longer and we are assured that the dolours of winter shall not last forever. Just as Lucy brings light on the winter Solstice and assures us that we are never in the dark, fiery Brigid reminds of the cleansing flame in preparation for the new year. The lambs are about to drop, the snow about to melt and the land is going to be waking up from it's wintry slumber. Candlemas is about putting those January plans into action and clearing the decks. On any given year, these things resonate with me, which hearken to my heritage and help me remember and revere the Divine in the 'mundane'.  This year, their importance thrums in the veins.  I know things are changing.

Thanks be to God.

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