February 2: Groundhog Day and La Chandeleur

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day is an annual tradition observed in the United States and Canada.

In the U.S., members of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club gather on February 2 around a burrow in the town of Punxsutawney in western Pennsylvania and wait for the groundhog to emerge. It is believed that the groundhog can predict the arrival of spring!

In the 1993 American fantasy-comedy film, “Groundhog Day,” Bill Murray plays a meteorologist who is sent to report on the event. He experiences déjà-vu when he wakes up each day and February 2 repeats again and again.

This year’s prediction, however, was not a repeat of last year’s. It appears that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow! According to legend, this means that there will be six more weeks of winter. (If he had not seen his shadow, then there would be an early spring.)

Groundhog Day is believed to have been adapted from a German custom of having a badger predict the weather, which itself is believed to have been an adaptation of a religious tradition involving candles.

La Chandeleur

The French also celebrate the religious tradition on February 2. They call it La Chandeleur, which comes from chandelle, the French word for candles. Similar to Groundhog Day, there are weather-related sayings or superstitions about this day:

« Chandeleur couverte, quarante jours de perte » (If it’s covered in snow, 40 more days will be lost winter)

« Soleil de la Chandeleur, annonce hiver et malheur » (If the sun is out, it indicates winter and misfortune)

« Quand la Chandeleur est claire, l’hiver est par derriere » (If it’s clear, then winter is behind us)

« Quand il pleut pour la Chandeleur, il pleut pendant quarante jours » (If it’s raining, it will rain for 40 days)

Crêpe Day

I like butter and brown sugar on my crêpes (Feb. 2, 2021)

One way to celebrate La Chandeleur is by eating crêpes!

“San Francisco” crêpe from Crepevine has smoked salmon, capers, spinach, and dill havarti (2018)

In California, the regional stay home orders have been lifted. Some restaurants are offering indoor dining again. I can’t wait to go back to Crepevine, one of my favorite restaurants.

But until then, I’ll make crêpes at home. I’m glad they’re so easy to make and require just six ingredients and a pan!

Recipe:

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • butter (for the frying pan)

Mix all ingredients together. Unlike pancake batter, the mixture will be thin. Pour 1/3 cup of the mixture onto the lightly buttered pan that’s over low heat. Swirl the pan until the batter coats the bottom of the pan. Flip the crêpe when the sides are lightly brown. Enjoy it warm with jam, Nutella, lemon juice, or powdered sugar.

Paris Las Vegas (2016)

Do you like crêpes? What do you like to put in them?

4 Ways I’m Coping with California Wildfire Smoke

It makes me blue to think about the dozens of people who’ve lost their lives and hundreds more who are missing due to the recent devastating wildfires in northern and southern California. So many people have lost their homes, animals, businesses, farms, and vehicles.

Since the Camp Fire wildfire in Butte County began on November 8, 2018, air quality in surrounding areas, like the San Francisco Bay Area, have reached unhealthy, very unhealthy, and even hazardous levels on the Air Quality Index.

Where I live, we’ve been strongly encouraged to stay indoors. Schools have decided to close and cancel classes. Local businesses have distributed special N95 filtration masks. Several museums have offered free admission to provide relief and temporary escape from the bad air.

Self care is important. I’m coping during this stressful time by:

  • spending quality time with loved ones
  • enjoying comfort food
  • staying positive
  • supporting the American Red Cross

Spending quality time with loved ones 

Part of my self care routine is engaging in a pleasurable activity. I enjoy good food, so I recently ventured outdoors and had brunch with my family. Spending quality time with loved ones brought comfort and a sense of normalcy.

Enjoying comfort food

We went to one of my favorite brunch spots called Crepevine. The fast-casual restaurant has ten locations around the San Francisco Bay Area, but the cozy atmosphere of the one I frequent makes it feel one-of-a-kind.

the San Francisco crêpe: salmon, capers, baby spinach, Dijon mustard, red onion, and dill Havarti cheese

Business was brisk at the College Avenue (Oakland) location. Understandably, no one inside lingered after eating their food. It was sad not to see anyone out on the patio, which is usually packed with diners and their beloved pets snuggled at their feet.

Staying positive

Almost two weeks after the wildfires broke out, I’m happy to report that much-needed rain is falling today (November 21). I hope we get enough precipitation to help contain the remaining fires. In the meantime, I’ll keep thinking of and thanking all the brave firefighters out there.

Supporting the American Red Cross

Another way I cope is knowing that I can help relief efforts by supporting the American Red Cross. I’m a longtime blood donor and supporter because I trust they use contributions properly. If you feel so inclined, please join me and make a financial contribution to the California Wildfire relief efforts. Change lives with your gift and donate now to the American Red Cross.

Thank you and remember to do something each day to take care of yourself.

For more information:

  • Air Quality Index (link)
  • American Red Cross (link)
  • CAL FIRE – Current Incidents (link)
  • Crepevine Restaurant (link)