I see that Punxsutawney Phil has spoken, and the utterance (you have to imagine it) comes out as “Early spring.”
Here, on this Very Same Day, we also have prognostications. But we don’t consult just any old random mammal — we go for the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Seeing as February 2 is the Feast of the Purification of the aforementioned BVM (meaning no disrespect), and seeing that candles have somehow become involved in this observance over the centuries (I’d tell you why but I don’t have time to check right now), the day is also called Candlemas. Here, specifically, it’s called Candelora. It sounds like a detergent of some sort, but it’s not.
The Venetian doggerel of the day goes:
De la Madonna Candelora
del inverno semo fora
se xe piova o xe vento
del inverno semo dentro.
(It’s the Madonna Candelora and we’re out of winter; if there’s rain or wind, we’re still in winter. Hey, it rhymes.)
In other words, we’d be getting six more weeks of winter if the BVM doesn’t see her shadow.
Today, the sun is blazing down as if to say “Take that!” to everybody who has spent the last two months whingeing about fog, rain, and freezing cold.
I’ll take it! I’ll take it!