Candlemas is a festival held to celebrate the presentation of the infant Jesus in the temple in Jerusalem in accordance with Mosaic Law (Leviticus 12:6,7). When Jesus was presented, Simeon took him in his arms and called him "a light to lighten the gentiles" (Luke 2:32). Traditionally, churches in Western Christendom would host a procession of congregants holding candles in commemoration of Christ as the Light of the World.
According to an old bit of Sussex folklore: “If Candlemas Day be fair and bright, Winter will have another flight; But if it be dark with clouds and rain, Winter is gone, and will not come again." This is a much older and really, a more beautiful tradition than our current Groundhog ritual which has, in any case, all but supplanted Candlemas on this day. A real pity, don't you think?
By the way, the forecast here calls for rain--all day long!