Sunday, December 13, 2015

gothidays... a holiday ending & weather...

cookies from Candlemas Brunch's past
It’s much too early to think about Candlemas which is good because it's a sad time for me. Because of that, I've hosted brunches and created my own Candlemas traditions. If you're going to conclude Christmas, I think you have to do it right and mark the event. You shouldn't just take down the decorations; that just feels sad.

On this seventh day of The Curious Professor Z's Gothidays event (see the picture to the right and click!), I'm discussing an old Polish tradition, one that even my family didn’t follow when I was growing up. 

My Christmas decorations remain up until February 2nd or until Candlemas… which I often have to explain to folks is the day most in this country acknowledge as Groundhog’s Day.
You see, Christmas in my house lasts until Candlemas. While everyone is Christmasing now (and technically we're in Advent and believe it or not, our Christmas tree isn't up just yet), I keep Christmasing while many of you have your trees and decorations taken down and all put away.

Christmas Day is the START of Christmas! It is only beginning! And while the commercialism ceases, the festivities can and do continue in my world.

Candlemas is the midpoint of winter, halfway between the December solstice and the March equinox. It was the hope and welcome for the return of spring and for the sun to return.

Groundhog's Day cookies 2009
Team Winter vs. Team Summer
It was believed that the weather on Candlemas Day would predict the forthcoming weather, just as we look to today’s Punxsutawney Phil to predict the weather for the remaining winter. If the weather is bright and sunny, the rest of winter will be bleak. If the weather is stormy and wet, the worst of the winter weather is over.

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,

Go Winter, and come not again.

From an old Catholic perspective especially during the Middle Ages, it was the day that parishioners would bring their candles to the church to be blessed by the priest to ward off any evil spirits. If you’ve ever attended any type of candle lighting ceremony in the darkest of winter you’ll know how powerful this must have been especially in one of those medieval churches.

Candles were sources of light and they were also thought to offer protection against illness and even plague. One superstition believed by the Romans was that on winter nights a lit candle would frighten away evil spirits. Before electric lights, candles were extremely important. Metaphorically the candle is the light of Jesus. Christians considered the world dark and lost until the light of the world was born.

Yet, another source of brightness connected with the day is Candlemas Bells or Snowdrops. The Latin name is Galanthus, which means "milk flower".

The Legend of the Snowdrop
According to legend, the flower became the symbol of hope when Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden. Eve was about to give up hope that winter would cease to end when an angel appeared. She angel transformed snowflakes into Snowdrop flowers showing that the winter will return to spring.

According to Christian belief, these flowers symbolize hope while others consider snowdrops to be a symbol of Christ bringing hope to the world.  
Garden Snowdrops are known for their early arrival. They can show up weeks before crocuses, and will even often poke through snow. In the South, Snowdrops may even bloom all winter long.

It has been considered unlucky to bring Snowdrops into the home before Candlemas; yet, some people think that they help purify a home.

2010 brunch cookies
Robert Herrick’s poem “Ceremonies for Candlemas Eve” offers:

Green rushes, then, and sweetest bents,
With cooler oaken boughs,
Come in for comely ornaments
To re-adorn the house.

Thus times do shift; each thing his turn does hold;
New things succeed, as former things grow old.

Team Suns or Team Snowflakes? 

During my brunches I ask friends and family members to select their cookies based on their own predictions

Fortunately, it is only the start of Christmas! Last night my fella and I decorated our trees for the season and set out decorations around the house. The haunted house is decorated; the recycled bottle Nativity is set out. Everything is sparkling and bright. Yesterday, I braved Williamsburg Outlets traffic to pick-up the Fruitcake Confection
and the Royal Riviera Pears from Harry & David's. I sent out the first set of Christmas cards to friends, and I'm almost finished buying presents.


I want to thank Franny from The Curious Professor Z for hosting Gothidays 2015. This event has kicked off my holiday season and gotten me into the spirit! I look forward to sharing more details about my gothy holiday events and reading about yours. Thanks readers for actively following along during one of the busiest times of years (of course for me, it's end-of-semester busy). 


Merry Gothidays to One and All!   


  1. Oh, that looks like a very special fruitcake indeed! I got a catalogue from Harry & David once - drooled all over it. :)

    I love your tree because purple, and what a great idea to decorate a haunted house! I think I've been celebrating Candlemas all along and just didn't know it. My decorations never come down in any sort of timely fashion. ;)

    It's been nice to read all about your holiday rituals, Goth Gardener.

    1. Ha, never feel bad that your decorations stay up! I think they bring joy during the dark January!

      Thank you!

  2. I love your black and purple and tree. And those pears are amazing, I sent my mother a box once. I should really be a nice daughter and do it again. I have a full size coffin bookshelf in my living room that I decorate. It has Corpse Bride houses and last year they got their own mini fiber optic tree. I found some mini glass Halloween ornaments in Williamsburg actually over vacation this year. I also finally found classy looking snowflake window clings for the glass. Love the haunted house!

    1. I like this black tree because it's black and silver, not totally black so it looks a bit jazzy. Plus, it is pencil thin so it can fit in places most trees cannot.

      Thanks! I liked the Haunted House so much I just never put it away :)

      I ended up poaching some of the pears and they turned out beautifully.

  3. It's all so festive and lovely!! I love that you keep the tradition of Christmas starting on Christmas Day and ending on Candlemas. :)

    1. Thanks! When Pope John Paul II was alive I remember the reporters noting that he would get very down at the end of Christmas (in February!). I completely understand the feeling. Right now everything is so festive. The hard part is that I'm pretty much the last person Christmasing so I have to witness it all go away.

  4. We got into the habit of taking down Christmas decorations before the new year because our middle daughter's birthday is January first. It was important to me to celebrate her birthday as a stand alone event, complete with decorations of its own. Now that she is grown and gone, we let the tree and stuff stay out longer ... not till February, tho.

    I must admit, I have never heard of Candlemas before. Learned something today!

    Good luck surviving the end of semester craziness. Christmas vacation is your reward. You can do it!

    1. January birthdays are hard. My birthday is at the end of February so at least when I'm down about Christmas turning back to normal time, I have a birthday not far off.

  5. The tree is fantastic! And that cookie is mouthwatering!

    I love the symbolism of candles and snow drops, how lovely!

  6. Thanks for explaining Candlemas. Your trees and decorations are festive and lovely. Enjoy the holiday season!

    1. Thanks, Lynne. I hope you have a great holiday as well.

  7. Your decorations are beautiful! I am amazed that you have found bat shaped ornaments for a Christmas tree too. :)

    1. Thanks, Jade. If I am remembering correctly, I found the bat at Michael's craft store after Halloween. It was the first time I had seen him and since he's made of garland he looks more like a Christmas decoration than a Halloween one. He also has a little hole so it seemed like he wanted to be a tree topper ;D

  8. Yes! Since we are Wiccan, Ed and I celebrate Imbolc (Imbolg), which is Candlemas. It's the celebration of "the fire in the belly" or the first stirrings of Spring. Around this time the snowdrops push up and so does the sap in the trees. In our house, we take down the tree and decorations, and force bulbs in celebration. I love forcing narcissus and tulips to celebrate Candlemas -- anything white.

    Do you find yourself celebrating Polish traditions more now that you are on your own? Things that your parents didn't do/celebrate? I do. I wonder why?

  9. Terrific post! I'm a big fan of Imbolc. Even though we're usually staring 2+ months of winter still squarely in the eyes when it rolls around, just allowing our minds to start to transition into thinking about the rebirth and gentle beauty of spring is often enough to keep the winter blues at bay.

    Your holiday decor is sensational! I love every last bit of it!

    Merriest festive season wishes!
    ♥ Jessica