Showing posts with label Candlemas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Candlemas. Show all posts

Feb 3, 2020

Groundhog Day Origin and Candlemas

On February 2, 1887, Groundhog Day, was celebrated for the first time at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. According to tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole on this day and sees its shadow, it gets scared and runs back into its burrow, predicting six more weeks of winter weather; no shadow means an early spring.

Groundhog Day has its roots in the ancient Christian tradition of Candlemas, when clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter. The candles represented how long and cold the winter would be. Germans expanded on this concept by selecting the hedgehog as a means of predicting weather. Once they came to America, German settlers in Pennsylvania continued the tradition, although they switched from hedgehogs to groundhogs, which were plentiful in the Keystone State. I am hoping for no shadow.

Feb 5, 2016

Punxsutawney Phil's Prediction

The tradition comes from the German legend and Catholic feast day of Candlemas. "If Candlemas be fair and bright, Winter has another flight. If Candlemas brings clouds and rain, Winter will not come again."

This year, "It is agreed, there will be early Spring." The Groundhog Club emcee proclaimed, "There is no shadow to be cast! An early spring is my forecast." He added, "Take your jackets off, you're not going to need them." During the past 28 years, Phil was correct 13 times and incorrect 15 times. New Iberia's Pierre C. Shaddeaux (a nutria) agrees with Phil. Staten Island Chuck in New York and General Beauregard Lee in Georgia both concur with Phil that spring is coming soon.

The findings were independently verified by a groundhog in Canada, where Shubenacadie Sam, groundhog at Nova Scotia's Shubenacadie Wildlife Park also saw no shadow. According to a Canadian study looking at 13 different cities’ groundhogs used for their respective festivals, the net accuracy was only 37%.

Ontario's Wiarton Willie predicted six more weeks of winter after spotting his shadow. Ohio's Buckeye Chuck agrees. Alabama's Sand Mountain Sam, who has been making appearances since 1993 also agrees and has only been wrong one year. West Virginia's French Creek Freddie also predicts six more weeks of winter.

In Manitoba, Groundhog Day celebrations have been cancelled following the death of Winnipeg Willow, who died last Friday at the Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.

No word yet from North Carolina's Sir Wally Wally (wrong 7 out of the last 10 years), Louisiana's T-boy, the Cajun Groundhog (actually a nutria), or Alabama's Smith Lake Jake.

It appears these groundhogs are about equally as accurate as local weatherpersons.