Groundhog Day—that strangest of all holidays—is based on the superstitious belief that on February 2, if a groundhog emerges from the its burrow and sees its own shadow, winter is bound to continue. (It is also the title of a surprisingly profound Bill Murray film about a man caught in a karmic time loop—highly recommended viewing for psychic types if you know how to “read between the lines.”)
However, as with many of our modern holidays, there is a deeper meaning—Groundhog Day is actually Imbolc, the festival marking the beginning of spring. Imbolc is both a traditional Irish holiday and a festival day celebrated by modern neopagans. The day was also celebrated as Lupercalia by the Romans, the Feast of Nut by the ancient Egyptians, and as Candlemas by Christians.
Check out this article on the history of Imbolc for more info:
Imbolc is a holiday with a variety of names, depending on which culture and location you’re looking at. In the Irish Gaelic, it’s called Oimelc, which translates to “ewe’s milk.” It’s a precursor to the end of winter when the ewes are nursing their newly born lambs. Spring and the planting season are right around the corner…
The ancient Egyptians celebrated this time of year as the Feast of Nut, whose birthday falls on February 2 (Gregorian calendar). According to the Book of the Dead, Nut was seen as a mother-figure to the sun god Ra, who at sunrise was known as Khepera and took the form of a scarab beetle.
How are you planning on celebrating this year’s Imbolc (cough cough) I mean Groundhog Day?