One of the things that makes Blackthorn so special is how it marks the changing of the seasons, and Candlemas is very much part and parcel of that.

It is a celebration of the changing of the light and a stirring in the earth – half way between the shortest day and the spring equinox – the moment where winter gives way to spring. In Christian tradition, Candlemas marks the ritual purification of Mary forty days after the birth of Jesus.

This year Candlemas falls on the 2nd February, and we will celebrate it at Blackthorn via Zoom. Our gardeners have prepared a hole in the ground, and together we will create a giant candle by pouring hot wax into the hole. The candle will burn for several days in the ground.

In pre-Christian times, the festival was called the ‘feast of lights’, so it feels fitting to wake up our garden in this way, particularly as we will be opening our new healing garden very soon.

The best weather to hope for on Candlemas is cloud or rain, as apparently this marks the end of winter, whereas a sunny day suggests there’s more to come. For anyone who is a fan of the 1990’s film ‘Groundhog Day’ this may well sound familiar. Groundhog Day, also on the 2nd February, is celebrated in parts of the USA and Canada. Supposedly, if a groundhog emerges from its den and sees a shadow it will retreat back inside – a sign of six more weeks of winter to come. Similar folklore exists in Germany, where the ground hog is replaced by a badger!