The words and lyrics of the nursery rhyme 'If Candlemas day be dry and fair' is a day on which the superstitious believe the weather can be predicted, as in St. Swithin's day. The rhyme is saying that if the sun comes out on 2nd February , halfway between Winter and Spring, it meant six more weeks of winter weather. Candlemas day falls on 2nd February, as does St Bridget's Day and Groundhog Day. Candlemas has been celebrated for hundreds of years and it was the custom on Candlemas Day for clergy to bless candles and distribute them to the people. Candlemas Day was therefore celebrated as the festival of candles - a bright light in the middle of a cold, dark winter when a lighted candle was placed in every window. Candlemas falls between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox and was originally a Pagan celebration. A superstition was brought to America by German settlers that on St Bridget's Day (2nd February) hedgehogs would come out to judge the quality of the weather. There were no hedgehogs in the New World but there were Groundhogs and this was the origin Groundhog Day:
If the sun shines on Groundhog Day
Half the fuel and half the hay.
There are several rhymes of this nature,
some of which also have significant historical relevance such as:
If St Paul's day (29 June) be fair and clear
St. Swithin's day if thou dost rain