Early childhood through grade 12

Hawthorne Valley Association
Beeswax dippings hang from a wooden rod in a Kindergarten classroom.  

“When Candlemas day is bright with sun,

Then the winter is just half way begun

But when Candlemas day is dark with rain

Then winter’s power is on the wane”

  Candlemas, Groundhog Day, Imbolc, and St. Brigid’s Day; all different names for the same day that marks the midway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Tradition has it that animals hibernating during the winter months come out around this time to see whether the winter is giving way to warmer weather yet, and if not they quickly return to their cozy winter homes. This is where the tradition of the groundhog originated: if the groundhog sees its shadow, winter will still continue for at least 6 weeks! If not, then a short winter and an early spring is in the books. This year the groundhog did see his shadow, according to official news which reached us from the nation’s most famous and reliable weather predicting groundhog: Punxsutawney Phil from Pennsylvania, as well as the bright winter sun, which shone on all of us this February 2nd.

Candlemas at HVS

Kindergarteners celebrated Candlemas last week by dipping into beeswax while singing all of the songs they could recall from a year of seasonal circles while Grade 2 practiced a Candlemas Song and enjoyed a story about the Chailleagh (the old, cold woman of winter) and St. Brigid, the bringer of Spring. Both groups of students were eager to celebrate the halfway mark of winter and welcome the warmer days ahead. The Life Skills crew in Grade 2 took it upon themselves to dig a few holes in the ground, which were filled with beeswax and a sturdy wick, reminding us of the light forces at work underneath Mother Earth’s icy winter coat. Students gazed at the warming and comforting light of the earth candles as they flickered in the cold February breeze yet valiantly continued to shine and light this day of celebration. Gathering during these early February days has been, and continues to be, a time to turn our attention to the seemingly invisible forces hard at work underneath the hard and frozen earth.