Here we are on the eve of one of America's quirkiest holidays, Groundhog Day. Groundhog? Why on earth would anyone celebrate a groundhog, let alone name a day after a rodent? Geez! According to folklore, one special groundhog will emerge from its burrow in an effort to forecast the weather. Not just a daily report either. This is setting the stage for upcoming spring...will it arrive early or late? Um-m-m-m-m? Let's look a little deeper into this weather hound.
|The groundhog (Marmota monax) is a rodent of the family Sciuridae, |
belonging to the group of large ground squirrels.
In pre-Christian times, this day was known as the 'Feast of Lights' in celebration of the increase strength of the life-giving sun as winter gave way to spring.
Why the name Candlemas?
It was the day of the year when all the candles to be used in the church during the upcoming year were brought into the sanctuary to be blessed. So, it was declared the Festival Day (or 'mass') of the Candles.
What does this day have to do with the weather?
The belief was that Candlemas Day predicted the weather for the rest of the winter. The weather proverbs express the idea that a fine bright sunny Candlemas Day means there is more winter to come, whereas a cloudy, wet, stormy Candlemas Day means the opposite...the worst of winter is over.
The Roman legions supposedly brought the idea to the Teutons, or Germans. They concluded that if the sun made an appearance on Candlemas Day, an animal, the hedgehog, would cast a shadow, thus predicting six more weeks of bad weather. Some would say this was interpolated as the length of the "Second Winter."
So, here we are in the 21st century, awaiting iconic news from a groundhog, known as Punxsutawney Phil! Br'er Groundhog will decide the fate of winter tomorrow, February 2nd at 7:20 AM EST. We will patiently, or perhaps not so patiently, await your emergence or for you or be pulled out of your 'lair' at Gobblers Knob, Pennsylvania.
Okay, Punxsutawney Phil, since this is your 128th prognostication for the fate of winter...
"How about an early spring?"
|"You want early spring, you say? Come back here tomorrow|
morning Feb 2 for the link to see me LIVE! Got another cracker?
I've got to keep up my strength for the difficult task
ahead of me."