1st February 2012

February finds me in the thick of several funding deadlines and poised to dive back into Speed of Light. I’ve managed to squeeze in a little bit of writing, but for the most part, I’m still ensconced in choreography animations, maps and data management.

February 2nd is Candlemas Day (the festival of lights) and Ground Hog Day (you know the drill, shadow = more winter, no shadow = less). Both days occur at the mid point between the shortest winter day (winter solstice) and the spring equinox.

I’ve never been one for celebrating New Year, since it arrives so quickly after the winter solstice and Christmas. As a result, it just feels like too much party for an introverted soul such as myself. Then, February feels so dreary, cold, and well, meh. With no holidays (other than the supremely annoying and commercially driven Valentines Day) to lift us out of our doldrums. In this sense, Candlemas, with its festival of light, is the perfect antidote to the winter blues.

Historically, Candlemas was an ancient pagan festival that was (as most western holidays are) co-opted by the Christians. It was originally called Imbolc, meaning literally ‘in the belly’. The metaphor being that the seed that was planted at the Winter Solstice is now germinating in the belly in order to be birthed in the spring. It also celebrates the return of light and one tradition is for people to express their wishes and hopes for the new year as they light a candle. I like this idea, and think this is the perfect time of year to meditate on such things.

So, for those of you who were simply too tired or too hungover on new years to contemplate your year ahead, you can do it tomorrow, on Candlemas/Imbolc. Alternatively, if you’re in mood for something figuratively lighter, tune in to Punxsutawney Phil (the famous ground hog) or, even better, re-watch Ground Hog Day.