Candlemas: February 2nd

Last night while Husband watched the Super Bowl, I was googling Groundhog Day to find out a little more about the origin of Punxsutawney Phil. (Wow, I just read that sentence back to myself. I so want to go back in time and high-five the 2001 Me who tried to feign interest when Tom Brady was in his first Super Bowl. “It’s ok, 2001 Hannah. In 2015, you won’t even have to pretend you’re interested while you cuddle with your hot husband in your adorable house. You win.”) Anyway, in the midst of reading about the February 2nd legend, I learned about the tradition of Candlemas. While it sounds like a made up word or possibly an Amy Sedaris crafting holiday, is a beautiful tradition that has been around for hundreds of years.

Candlemas: Feb. 2nd | Hannah & Husband

The tradition is that on February 2nd, priests bless the candles that light the homes in their community for the remainder of Winter. Candlemas occurs 40 days after Christmas, and, as with many ancient holidays, there are lots of theories about how February 2nd became a special day. Legends range from the end of a plague in Constantinople to a Christianization of the Gaelic festival of Imbolc. However, the most common thread seems to be the presentation of Jesus at the temple. 40 days also has to do with the Jewish tradition of female purification after childbirth so another name for Candlemas is “Feast of the Purification of the Virgin.”

The candles come into play as a reference to this scripture in Luke’s gospel. Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the temple and Simeon, after seeing the baby, calls Him “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” As the tradition goes, priests bless the candles and then people take them home to light the remainder of the dark winter nights and even to ward off thunderstorms.

Two thoughts for today…

  1. When I was little my mother always kept candles lit this time of year, and now that I have a home, I do the same thing. There is a homeyness that comes with the glow of a candle. A warmth it adds on the coldest, darkest nights that I can’t quite explain. Oil lamps, pillar candles, tea lights–they’re a cheap fix for some good juju, I promise!
  2. January is hard and grey and bleak. What sort of light are you bringing to other people these days? There is something to be said for being the hopeful, encouraging friend that makes everyone you meet feel like the most important person in the room. Go forth and be a light in the dreary!
In East Tennesseee? Fig & Company is my new go-to candle source. Check out that colorful display!

In East Tennesseee? Fig & Company is my new go-to candle source. Check out that colorful display!

Some Crafty Candle Links from Winters Past:

Candle Salad & the 1950s Dinner Party with the “Club” 

Repurpose Old Jars Into Vintage-Looking Candleholders

May the remainder of your Winter days be filled with light!


Haint Blue on the Porch Ceiling

Haint Blue | Hannah & HusbandHow cute is this guy? I was trying to take a picture of my afternoon view (staring at the porch ceiling above the pages of my book), and this pic was just too cute not to snap. But for the actual post…

This time of year (or really any time the thermometer reads over 60°F) the front porch is my very favorite room in the house. We spend hours out there–reading, chatting, listening to the radio. I’ll give you a peek at the rest of the porch another day, but right now I want to talk about the ceiling.

Haint Blue | Hannah & Husband

If you call up your house painter and ask for “haint” blue, you’ll find that most of them keep a standard shade on hand. Driving through Southern towns, this light blue adorns the porch ceilings of the smallest of shacks to the largest of mansions. And, like many pieces of Southern folklore, haint blue ceilings have become such a tradition that most people have forgotten where it started.  The tradition originated with the Gullah people–descendants of slaves spread from South Carolina to Louisiana.

haint: a spirit lost in the physical world yet to pass over to the next realm

You can think of a haint as a spirit that you really don’t want to mess with. This isn’t a friendly spirit that will guide you in life, it’s one that will haunt your dreams. The one catch? Haints can’t cross water. So the idea was that if the ceiling of the porch was painted this blue, a shade that is light and slightly aqua, the haint will be tricked into thinking that it’s water and move on to another home.

While I don’t really believe in the superstition, I’m a sucker for a Southern tradition with a good story! What about you? Is your porch ceiling blue?