Today is Groundhog Day in the U.S.  Punxsutawney Phil reportedly indicated we’ll have Spring weather in six weeks. (Please don’t see your shadow, please don’t see your shadow, Little Girl pleaded with the televised groundhog as she crossed her fingers. Then she was off to school.)

February 2 is the halfway point between Winter Solstice and Vernal Equinox, and it’s a special day in many cultures. In some parts of Mexico, there are bullfights on Candlemas day. In northern Brazil, “o 2 de Fevereiro” is a day to celebrate Iemanjá  or Yemajá, goddess of the sea (see Marcela Pimenta’s photo). In West Africa and the African diaspora, some celebrate Oyá, goddess of the wind , the storm, the hurricane, and of letting go. In Puerto Rico, that condensed hodgepodge of colliding cultures, I used to celebrate El Día de la Candelaria. The Virgin of Candelaria, who appeared in Tenerife, Canary Islands, blended with Oyá perhaps because she was represented in the Catholic tradition as a black madonna. Or perhaps my Canarian ancestors and my African ancestors just drank too much café puya (the moonshine of black coffee).

When I was growing up, February 2 was the day you made a bonfire and burned all the old stuff leftover from last year. Most of the neighbors dragged out their dried-up Christmas trees, which they had saved in a corner of the yard, and made a pile at the park or the nearest empty lot. The pile would be set on fire on the night of February 2. It was another chance to break with the past and move on, in case you didn’t get the message on New Year’s Eve.

Wikipedia en español has quite the chronicle of La Candelaria  (http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgen_de_la_Candelaria). Of special note is the mention of Africans in the Canary Islands since before Columbus, and the importance of Canarian migration to the Americas in spreading the name and fame of La Candelaria.

Today, I just observed a little quite time to meditate, play some Goddess music and think about my ancestors. Then I moved on.

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