Thursday, February 24, 2011

LOL of the day

I decided to treat myself to a stroll through my local mall today and of course got stuck at Borders. 
After browsing around for a while I found myself in my favorite corner of the store where you can usually find "the weird people". 
It's the metaphysical, astrology, spiritual section, right across from the "Christian Fiction and Bibles".
Anyways... I was looking through some of Scott Cunningham's and Silver Ravenwolf's works when I suddenly discovered this:

This business card from a "Bio-Exorcist" was hidden within Raymond Buckland's "Wicca for Life" book.

I knew the South was super religious in a Christian way, but I never thought people would be so fanatic as to think that people like me, pagans who follow the old ways,  needed EXORCISM! 

This made me LOL - laugh out loud, in the middle of the store.  :D

~Blesses Be~

)O( Micha

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Walk in the Woods ... of Sweetwater Creek State Park

Kent and I decided to spend this gorgeous 70F day going for a hike in the Sweetwater Creek State Park in Lithia Springs, GA.
We both had a great time outside enjoying the warm weather and nature.

                                                       We walked through the woods, 

                                                                     and along a river

                        I wonder is something was buried underneath this pile of stones ;)

We had a great time and are definitely going to come back for more outdoor adventures.

)O( Micha


As almost every Saturday now, we stopped at our local PetSmart today to look at kitties (and hamsters and fish).... and this little guy obviously wanted a HUG!

)O( Micha

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The History of Valentine's Day

Every February 14, across the United States and in other places around the world, candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint, and where did these traditions come from? Find out about the history of this centuries-old holiday, from ancient Roman rituals to the customs of Victorian England.

The history of Valentine's Day — and its patron saint — is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.
One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men — his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.
According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first "valentine" greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl — who may have been his jailor's daughter — who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed "From your Valentine," an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.
While some believe that Valentine's Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine's death or burial — which probably occurred around 270 A.D — others claim that the Christian church may have decided to celebrate Valentine's feast day in the middle of February in an effort to "christianize" celebrations of the pagan Lupercalia festival. In ancient Rome, February was the official beginning of spring and was considered a time for purification. Houses were ritually cleansed by sweeping them out and then sprinkling salt and a type of wheat called spelt throughout their interiors. Lupercalia, which began at the ides of February, February 15, was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at the sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would then sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification.
The boys then sliced the goat's hide into strips, dipped them in the sacrificial blood and took to the streets, gently slapping both women and fields of crops with the goathide strips. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed being touched with the hides because it was believed the strips would make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city's bachelors would then each choose a name out of the urn and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage. Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine's Day around 498 A.D. The Roman "lottery" system for romantic pairing was deemed un-Christian and outlawed. Later, during the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds' mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of February — Valentine's Day — should be a day for romance. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. The greeting, which was written in 1415, is part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England. Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.
In Great Britain, Valentine's Day began to be popularly celebrated around the seventeenth century. By the middle of the eighteenth century, it was common for friends and lovers in all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. By the end of the century, printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one's feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine's Day greetings. Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began to sell the first mass-produced valentines in America.
According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.)
Approximately 85 percent of all valentines are purchased by women. In addition to the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia.
Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages (written Valentine's didn't begin to appear until after 1400), and the oldest known Valentine card is on display at the British Museum. The first commercial Valentine's Day greeting cards produced in the U.S. were created in the 1840s by Esther A. Howland. Howland, known as the Mother of the Valentine, made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as "scrap." 

)O( Micha

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Introducing...... Rah!

Let me introduce you to our latest addition to our little family : Rah Orion Fitch.
                                             He is a 5.5 months old Maine Coon Mix. 

Kent and I just wanted to go "look at kitties" at our local Pet Smart store and there he was :)

We had been looking for a kitty for a while, and even though we knew exactly what we were looking for (an orange extra large maine coon kitten) it was love at first sight. The Lady from the adoption agency said that he is a shy kitty who loves being around other cats. After holding him and petting him for a while he warmed up to us quickly and Kent and I knew we HAD to get him.
The agency had named him "Cloud", which we didn't like. So we made a list of all the names we would like  for him and finally agreed on Rah (after Ra, the Egyptian God) and Orion as his middle name. :)
Rah was born on September 1st 2010, so he is currently 5.5 months old. 
When we brought him home Butch was NOT amused. Rah loved him right from the beginning and wanted to play with him, but Butch kept hissing at the little one.
We had to separate them for a little while, and after about 2 hours Butch was ready to get to know his new little brother ("get to know", as in "sniff his butt" lol)...

... but still isn't too happy about our newest addition, but I am sure he'll get used to him a little more every day. 

Kent and I are very happy!  We are still planning on getting our XL orange Maine Coon eventually (his name will be Tubbs), but we love and adore Rah and of course we love our Butchy!

                   Now here is a classic: Rah's first dump in his new litter box :D

)O( Micha

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

You know you're German if...

You know you're German if...

1. You separate your trash into more than five different bins.
2. Your front door has a sign with your family name made from salt dough.
3. You carry a "4You" backpack.
4. You eat a cold dinner at 6pm.
5. You call your cell phone "handy" and a projector "beamer".
6. You have no problems with nude beaches and saunas.
7. You have asked your Asian-American friend, "No, but where are you *really* from?"
8. You have gotten splinters from environmentally friendly toilet paper.
9. You call an afternoon stroll "Nordic Walking".
10. You are shocked when you have to pay for dental care.
11. You own a pair of jeans in a color other than blue.
12. People start talking about Hitler and Hofbräuhaus when you tell them where you're from.
13. Tenth grade was all about dancing lessons.
14. You work 35 hour weeks and have 6 weeks of vacation a year, but complain about hard times.
15. Your childhood diet consisted of Alete and Zwieback.
16. Your college diet consisted of Miracoli and Döner.
17. You were educated about sex by Dr. Sommer.
18. You yell at people for jaywalking. (that's crossing the pelican crossing on red for us Europeans!)
19. You grew up watching "Löwenzahn" and "Die Sendung mit der Maus". And Baywatch - I've been looking for freedom!
20. You think college tuition is an outrage.
21. You routinely go 100mph on the highway and tailgate heavily.
22. On your last day of high school you made your teachers sing Karaoke and jump through hoops.
23. You wear brown leather shoes.
24. Your first audio tape was Benjamin Blümchen and Bibi Blocksberg.
25. You have ended an English sentence with "..., or?".
26. You can tell at least one Manta joke.
27. You're a college student in your 11th year.
28. Your first sexual experience was on SAT-1, Saturday night at 11pm.
29. ... if you drill in your nose!
30. You expect chocolate in your shoes on December 6th.
31. You complain that in other countries everything is dirty.
32. We are used to men getting drunk every Ascsenion Day (Himmelfahrt or rather "Männertag")
33. if you get up at 6 in the morning to reserve your sunbed with a towel and then go back to sleep till later.
34. You spent hours in school learning to pronounce "th".
35. ... taxi drivers drive Mercedes and the police on the Autobahn drive BMWs.
36. ... if you go to school in a gymnasium.
37. ... if your American spouse comments: "you recycle everything, even your hair. Why? Is this necessary?" After you donate your hair to Locks of Love and clothes to Goodwill and drive to the local recycling center to recycle paper, plastics, metals, glasses, stop at Batteries Plus to recycle batteries, and walk to Rapid Refill to recycle empty ink cartridges and save fuel. You respond with "I can't help it I'm German," and then your shocked spouse starts recycling!
38. ... if you spend the summer at the "Baggersee".
39. ... if you say PorschE, not Porsh!
40a. ... if you freak out at the fact that Canadians/ Americans/ Brits use margarine for EVERYTHING... or SALTED BUTTER! For cooking! For BAKING! ON BREAD WITH NUTELLA!
40b. ... if ich ständig Nutella Brote verdrücke - I can't get enough Nutella sandwiches.
41. ... if you always have a pack of TEMPOS on you.
42. ... if you watch "Der 90.Geburstag - Dinner for One" on New Year's Eve every year and can still laugh about it.
43. ... if you burst into tears of happiness when you find that the Lidl markets in the UK sell Fleischsalat, not forgetting Salami, German yoghurts, German bread mix and so on!
44. ... if you believe that wooden toys are educationally superior
45. ... if you think there is nothing wrong with dark brown tiles in your bathroom.
46. ... if you know who Jim Knopf and Urmel are.
47. ... if you don't use anything but the finest Diddl Maus stationery
48. ... if you have guests coming and everything must be cleaned so it is pikabello sauber....even though it already was
49. ... if there is no such thing as BBQ only grillen
50. ... if there is only one Rudi Voeller
51. ... if the cold evening meal is eaten off wooden boards not plates.
52. ... if you are looking for the "esszett" i.e. ß on your keyboard
53. ... if you know what Das Sandmännchen is.
54. ... if you understand the following -
I understand only railwaystation
Heaven, arse and thread!
Us runs the water in the mouth together.
Human being Meier!
My dear Mister singing-club!
55. ... if you can identify with movies like: Die Fetten Jahre sind vorbei, Sonnenallee, Good Bye Lenin...
56. ... if you have been tortured with "Kabale und Liebe" during your Abitur.
57. ... if you always fold your Tetra Pak before you throw it in the appropriate bin.
58a. ... if most, if not all, of your childhood songs were by "Rolf Zuckowski und seine Kinder"
58b. ... if you learned all about traffic safety through songs by Rolf Zuckowski
59. ... if you eat raw pork with raw egg mmmh, lécker Hackepeter ;)
60. ... if you do gifts on Christmas Eve - the proper way. Or is it just the Brits, US Americans, Canadians etc. that don't do it the proper way? Most European countries do!
61. ... if everybody calls you "zee german" and thinks that you LOVE sauerkraut and sausages... then you are german :PP
62. ... if you think you have less public holidays than other countries when in fact you have more!
63. ... if you own a David Hasselhoff tape
64. ... if you just don't get baseball and think it's boring
65. ... if you serve/ make a pasta salad for every occasion.
66. ... if you speak English but the German way...even when it sounds strange e.g. 'everything in order by you?'
... becoz order is so important! OR "I made the laundry"
67. ... if you only drink Sprudel Wasser and you add it to every other liquid you drink and call it Schorle!
68. ... if you like to eat your french fries with mayonaise and are revolted by the thought of vinegar on them.
69. ... if you keep going on about the ear worm that you currently have and people look at you like you have some tropical disease.
70. ... if you think stores are closed on Sundays apart from the local railway station store
71. ... if you confuse your "if" and "when".... ;-)
72. ... if you watched GZSZ or Marienhof as a teenager.
73. ... if (when living in the UK) you have to have satellite TV to watch all those German programmes e.g. Wetten Dass and Tatort!
74. ... if you cringe when you hear the English version of 99 Luftballons - 99 Red Balloons.
75. ... if you say: "hier sieht's aus wie bei Hempels unterm Sofa"
76. ... if the concept of small talk still puzzles you
77. ... if you laugh when other people get hurt, because Schadenfreude ist die schönste Freude
78. ... if you’re the only one recycling not just bottles and cans but also light bulbs, water filters, batteries, printer cartridges …
79. ... if you don't understand the joke "Don't mention the War"
80. ... if you reuse the plastic bags from the supermarket for your rubbish
81. ... if being on time means 15 minutes earlier to you
82. ... if you actually understand the lyrics of Rammstein and the double meanings
83a. ... if you know German bands like Tokio Hotel who are breaking around the world incl. the USA
83b. ... if you know who Heino is (and Hannelore - his wife)
84. ... if you wonder why all those people are standing waiting in line when it's easier to walk straight to the front
85. ... if you do not understand why your German ID with your address is not good enough to open a US bank account but your water bill is
86. ... if you find it strange that Nov 11 is Remembrance Day (UK) and noone is cutting guys' ties
87a. ... if you advise others to park their cars so that exhausts face the road so as to protect buildings from the fumes
87b. ... if you complain about people that just sit in their car with the engine running
87c. ... if you switch off your car at the traffic lights
88. ...if you just can't stand the taste of Marmite
89. ... if you can't stand the sloppy white British/ American bread - the one where you try to spread your Nutella and it falls apart!
90. ... if you have 2 different types of toothpaste, one for the morning and one for the evening e.g. Elmex/ Aronal made by the Swiss company GABA ;-)
91. ... (native German) if you have absolutely no idea who the von Trapp family are and you can't sing along to any of the Sound of Music film songs.
92. ... if you smash plates (yes the Greeks do it too) and saw logs a wedding
93. ... if nuts & raisins are something that only German students are meant to eat (Studentenfutter)
94. ... if you have a compulsive feeling to correct things that are wrong - Ordnung muß sein!
95. ... if you still differentiate between West Germans and East Germans (Wessis & Ossis) after xx years of reunification
96. ... if you watched "Brummkreisel" and the Czech version of "Aschenbroedel" on GDR1 and GDR2 even though you lived in the West
97. ... if you know who the Kelly Family are.
98. ... if greet everyone in a doctors' waiting room with a friendly "Guten Tag!"
99. ... if you always complain about Dutch caravans on German "Autobahnen"
100. ... if you can't laugh at British humour e.g. Fawlty Towers
101. ... if you go to the pictures, the cinema/ theater is empty but you still look where your assigned seat is - even if it's the left-most seat in the front row
102. ... if you are queuing for bread rolls at 6am in the morning whilst on holiday ... on the other hand:
102a. ... if you refuse to stand at the back of a queue!
103. ... if you own a bicycle that brakes when you try to peddle backwards
104. ... if you know at least 15 different ways to cook potatoes
105. ... if you are really upset when the Deutsche Bahn is yet again 5 minutes late
106. ... if you feel uncomfortable saying "you" to adults in English classes.
107. ... if you're the only one knocking on your desk after a lecture to show your appreciation while everyone else stares at you.
108. ... if you switch the light off when you leave a room, (much to the dismay of your British flatmates).
109. ... if, in the UK, Australia and other countries where they drive on the left, you attempt to get into the driver's side when someone has offered you a lift/ ride.
110. ... if you wish every person around you "Mahlzeit" at mealtimes.
111. ... if you have a sense of guilt/ shame when you say that you are proud to be German - you shouldn't have!
112. ... if you don't cross your fingers but "press your thumbs"
113. ... A LONG ONE! ... .. if your CV/ resume is a book that consists not only your previous work experience, but also your last 3 report cards, all of your previous job report cards, what your mother and father do for a living (not to mention what your siblings do and whether they're single, married, etc.), a photo of yourself (if not a couple), your religious beliefs, and ... the list goes on!
114. ... if you know the Knigge way of how to eat "correctly" with your knife and fork
115. ...if, when in Chile, you freak out when you find Lakritz and Ritter Sport in the local pharmacy
116. ...if the sentence "you can say you to me" makes perfect sense to you.
117. ... if you have a blue eye instead of a black eye.
118. ... if you love your Apfelschorle
119. ... if you grew up playing "Mensch Ärgere Dich Nicht"
120. ...if you ask whether there is anything left to do at work, and your collegues stare at you, simply because you can't stand being idle.
121. ...if, when you were a kid, oh so long ago, you used to pay for your "Waldmeisterbechereis" with 6 Groschen.
122. ... if you clap when your plane lands.
123. ... if, when in the UK, you get goosebumps on a cold day when all around are wearing shorts and t-shirts...
124. ... if you grew up drinking Malzbier
125. ... if you always park your car in the direction you are driving - Ordnung muß sein!
126. ... if you write your Nouns with capital Letters when writing in english... and your Nationalities and Languages beginning with a small letter!
127. ... if you say "Guten Appetit" before lunch and dinner, but NEVER before breakfast (ever noticed?)^
128. ... if it's your birthday and YOU are paying for the drinks!
129. ... if you answer the phone by identifying yourself with your surname rather than just "hello"
130. ... if you have 2 sets of tyres for your car, one for the summer and one for winter.
131. ... if you can't laugh at yourself.
132. ... if you have this overwhelming urge to sweep the street or the pavement/ sidewalk outside your house.
133. ... if (2 for the price of 1!) you know that all men are swine AND you know that Anton is from Tirol
134. ... if you miss your Weihnachtspyramide, Schwippbogen, Herrnhuter Stern etc.
135. ... if, when you're in the UK, you whinge about
- dual taps
- single glazed windows
- carpeted bathroom floors
- those silly levers that give you a whole lower arm workout just to flush the toilet
- that even with the 24h law most pubs shut at 2am
136. ... if you think putting milk in your tea is abnormal
137. ... if you know who the Mainzelmännchen are
138. ... if you are NOT allowed to: hang your washing out on a Sunday, wash your own car using detergents.
139. ... if you get a Zuckertüte on your first day of school
140. ... if you wait for the pedestrian light to turn green before you cross the road for fear of being fined!
141. ... if the English words 'peddle', 'paddle', 'puddle' and 'piddle' confuse you when you hear them!
142. ... if you're horrified when someone wishes you happy birthday in advance
143. ....if you think all houses should have wooden/PVC roller shutters (Außen-Jalousie) so it´s nice and dark in your bedroom even in daytime & rain isn´t so noisy on the window you have to turn up the volume of your TV to watch your favourite "Tatort"!!!

... and you can laugh at THIS picture ...

)O(  Micha

Snow, snow go away...

... and come back another year. 

It snowed again tonight :( .
I am sooooo over the snow. 

But I guess I shouldn't be too bitter about it, my friends in IL have it way worse. 

Butch had fun though.


)O( Micha

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Imbolc !

The First of February belongs to Brigid, (Brighid, Brigit, Bride,) the Celtic goddess who in later times became revered as a Christian saint. Originally, her festival on February 1 was known as Imbolc or Oimelc, two names which refer to the lactation of the ewes, the flow of milk that heralds the return of the life-giving forces of spring. Later, the Catholic Church replaced this festival with Candlemas Day on February 2, which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and features candlelight processions. The powerful figure of Brigid the Light-Bringer overlights both pagan and Christian celebrations.

In most parts of the British Isles, February is a harsh and bitter month.  In old Scotland, the month fell in the middle of the period known as Faoilleach, the Wolf-month; it was also known as a’ marbh mhiòs, the Dead-month.  But  although this season was so cold and drear, small but sturdy signs of new life began to appear: Lambs were born and soft rain brought new grass. Ravens begin to build their nests and larks were said to sing with a clearer voice.  
In Ireland, the land was prepared to receive the new seed with spade and plough; calves were born, and fishermen looked eagerly for the end of winter storms and rough seas to launch their boats again. In Scotland, the Old Woman of winter, the Cailleach, is reborn as Bride, Young Maiden of Spring, fragile yet growing stronger each day as the sun rekindles its fire, turning scarcity into abundance. Of her, Alexander Carmichael wrote: 
Bride with her white wand is said to breathe life into the mouth of the dead Winter and to bring him to open his eyes to the tears and the smiles, the sighs and the laughter of Spring. The venom of the cold is said to tremble for its safety on Bride’s Day, and to flee for its life on Patrick’s Day.

A wondrous force and might
Doth in these candels lie… 
— Barnaby Gouge: The Popish Kingdome

In keeping with the policy of the Catholic Church to subsume pagan festivals into Christian feast-days, the Day of Bride became equated with Candlemas on February 2nd, the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At this time, forty days after childbirth, Mary was supposed to have gone to the Temple at Jerusalem to make the traditional offering to purify herself. As she entered the temple, an old man named Simeon recognized the baby as the Messiah of Israel, and a “light to lighten the Gentiles.” So, once again we encounter the archetype of the young Sun or Light come to redeem the darkness, but now in Christian clothing. Certainly, the service most used for this day in the medieval church made much of this symbolism, playing upon images of the appearance of divine light in the darkness of human sin, of renewal and rebirth of light in the dark time of the year, and of the new light of heaven come to transform an old world.
In Britain, Candlemas was celebrated with a festival of lights. In the dark and gloomy days of February, the shadowy recesses of medieval churches twinkled brightly as each member of the congregation carried a lighted candle in procession around the church, to be blessed by the priest. Afterwards, the candles were brought home to be used to keep away storms, demons and other evils. This custom lasted in England until it was banned in the Reformation for promoting the veneration of magical objects. Even so, the symbol of the lighted candles had too strong a hold on the popular imagination to be entirely cast aside. Traces of the festival lingered until quite recently in other areas of the British Isles like little lights that refused to be blown out. In Wales, Candlemas was known as Gwyl Fair y Canhwyllau, Mary’s Festival of the Candles, and was celebrated as late as the 19thcentury by setting a lighted candle in the windows or at the table on this night. Special Candlemas carols were sung by singers who processed from house to house. One of these contains the lines:
Hail reign a fair maid with gold upon your chin,
Open up the East Gate and let the New year in;

The carolers had to undergo a contest of riddles before being allowed to enter (an example of ritual at a liminal place.) When they were allowed in, they might see a young girl with a baby boy on her lap, surrounded by candles, to whom they sang once more and pledged in drink. She of course personified Virgin and Child, but in a country where Catholicism never had a strong hold, it is not difficult to discern a pre-Christian custom similar to the Scottish welcoming of Bride behind the Christian trappings.
In the county of Shropshire, the snowdrop, first flower of spring, took the place of candles, being named, “Candlemas bells,” “Purification flowers” or – with a faint remembrance of Brigid, perhaps – “Fair Maid of February.” And an interesting survival was noted in Cornwall, where until recently in the town of St. Ives, a silver ball was passed around from 10.30 till noon on this day throughout the streets and on the beach. It was started off by the mayor at the parish church, and whoever holds the ball at noon receives a small prize. The significance and history of this unusual and isolated custom is not known. Does the silver ball represent the pale orb of the returning sun?
Finally, traces of the festival of the growing light can even be traced to modern America in the Groundhog Day custom on February 2.  If the groundhog sees his shadow on this morning, it means there will be six more weeks of winter. The custom comes directly from Europe, and Scotland in particular, where an old couplet goes:
If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
 there'll be two winters in the year.

A Scottish rhyme about the Feast Day of Bride begins:

This is the day of Bride,
The queen will come from the mound…

In other versions it is a “serpent” that will emerge from a hole, an allusion which Professor Séamus Ó Cáthain has linked to Scandinavian customs regarding the reappearance of the hibernating bear.  For this is the time when the animal world begins to stir from its winter sleep in the depths of earth, and life and light is ushered in by Brigid, the Queen.

Growing up in Germany, I remember celebrating Candlemas ("Lichtmess"). My Grandmother goes to church and  my Mom used to tell me that on "Lichtmess" it was tradition for the farmhands ("Knecht und Magd") to renew their contract for the following year with the farmer they were working for.  It was also tradition that a guy who likes a girl would give her a very special candle that day to show her his love.
No one really practiced this anymore when I grew up, but it is interesting to see how Paganism has influenced  Christians without them even knowing that their traditions have those deep pagan roots.

Happy Imbolc!  :D

)O(  Micha

Imbolc Poem