Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I shared the British bits from the book about the Hamilton musical (if you’re interested, I posted the full book review on Wednesday). Sim’s fantasy walk about London took us to the birthplace of Alfred Hitchcock (and David Beckham). Jean continues to lead us through Faerie Queene. Becky reviewed the book Victoria, that was written alongside the television series that’s now playing on PBS.
I hope you had a happy Groundhog Day. That’s an American holiday. But it has roots in the British Isles and the rest of Europe.
February 2 is Candlemas in the Christian calendar, a day when several denominations bless the candles that will be used throughout the year. An English folk-poem ties this day to the sort of weather-predicting that Americans do with groundhogs:
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again.
In Gaelic traditions, February 1 is Imbolc or Brigid’s Day. We’re right at the half-way point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, so Imbolc is celebrated as an early spring festival. Brigid heralded the return of the light and the end of winter.
Do you celebrate the changing season at the beginning of February? In Missouri, usually, we begin to see snow drop crocuses and harbinger-of-spring flowers. In another month, we’ll be seeing more crocuses and some daffodils.