What I know for sure is that February 2 is the French holiday La Fête de la Chandeleur, also known as Candlemas.
- 40 days after Christmas
- established by a pope in the 400s to Christianize a pagan festival honoring Pan
The Christian church commemorates two events on this day:
- the Purification of the Virgin (a new mother could not go back to the temple until forty days after giving birth)
- the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple
old English song: "If Candlemas be fair and bright, Come, Winter, have another flight. If Candlemas brings clouds and rain, Go, Winter, and come not again."
German saying: "For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day, so far will the snow swirl in May."
So that is why we make a big hullabaloo over Punxsatawney Phil on Groundhog Day.