Cross Quarter Day

Saturday is Groundhog’s Day, made famous in recent decades by the celebration in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.  But the origins of having a celebration on February 2 goes back to ancient times as today marks the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox.

In more modern times, European Christians observed Candlemas on this date. The name derives from the candles lit in churches to celebrate the presentation of Jesus in the temple of Jerusalem.  An old Celtic saying developed around that holiday that “If Candlemas be fair and bright, Winter has another flight, If Candlemas brings clouds and rain, Winter will not come again.”

The mark of the midpoint between a solstice and an equinox is referred to as a cross quarter day.  The other such days in the year include May 1, with our May Day celebration, August 1, without a modern celebration and October 31, which of course is the day in recent times that Halloween is observed.

The Possibilites are Endless

I turn 50 today.  I do not say this to garner the usual Happy Birthday wishes, or to the younger generation to perhaps earn some sympathy.  Instead, that even after living on the planet for a half-century, and forecasting the weather now for almost half of those years, I have never lost my amazement of the atmosphere and the weather it brings.

More particularly, what it can bring, as even after 50 years, I have only observed a small portion of what could occur.  Most of the time when I hear a sound byte on television about someone saying “I have never seen anything like it”, it is more often then not an example that most of us have very short weather memories.  Yet, having written that, our modern industrial civilization has in fact, not come even come close to seeing everything the atmosphere can conjure up and a look at history, well beyond my mere 50 years, is a reminder of what those possibilities are in the future.