Thursday, February 2, 2017

Groundhog Day 2017

Today is Groundhog Day in the United States, where we pull a groundhog out of the ground to predict the weather.   It's purely scientific, of course, and this is how it works:

If the groundhog sees its shadow, we have six more weeks of winter.  If the groundhog doesn't see its shadow, we get an early spring.

The groundhog usually sees his shadow.  As I write this, it is still too soon to tell, but people seem to be having a good time.

In 2015, one of our harshest Northeast winters in many years, the ground hog saw its shadow, despite the fact that it was overcast, and a rain/snow mix was moving in.  Somehow, that ground hog almost always sees its shadow.  In 2013, it didn't see its shadow and we still got six more weeks of winter.

The groundhog almost got the death penalty for that one.

In 2016, it was unseasonably warm for us.  This year?  It got up to 42F (5.5 Celsius) at our house yesterday. This post from 2014 shows a more typical February day.

This morning, I woke up to snow. There's a 90% chance of more snow today.Perhaps February is here, after all.

There are multiple predicting groundhogs in the United States, and they even compete with each other.  Yes, we take our silly customs seriously here in the good ol' U S of A.

For those of my readers who don't live in the United States, here's a history of Groundhog Day, in case you are wondering why people in the United States still depend on a groundhog seeing his shadow (or not) to predict if winter will be over soon.

And here's what happened when a Wisconsin town's groundhog decided that weather predicting wasn't the right career choice for him. 

Remember the movie Groundhog Day?   Could any other country have produced this movie?

Do you celebrate Groundhog Day?  Or do you have another equally silly holiday where you live?

16 comments:

  1. Folklore is always interesting. Here's hoping for an early spring.

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  2. Don't get me started on groundhogs. They are a real nuisance around here and I have spent a lot of money trying to make my home and yard groundhog proof. Two of my neighbors had their porches collapse after groundhogs tunneled under them.

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    1. They ruined our outbuilding years ago. I detest groundhogs. Now, squirrel have joined the list, too. I hope I can grow potted plants this year.

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  3. IF I were going to buy into any mythological weather forecasting system, I'd use the Farmer's Almanac. At least, it has entertaining sidebars to keep me amused.

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    1. I don't know why Groundhog Day has become a "thing". I haven't read the Farmers Almanac in years but I know some true believers.

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  4. I have heard of Groundhog Day in the States on Russian TV. I find this day very funny and I myself would really celebrate this day as well. Good custom!

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    1. All cultures need a silly custom. At least, with this one, no one gets hurt. As I understand it, the Pennsylvania groundhog lives at the local library most of the year and is well taken care of.

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  5. The way I see it, there will be six more weeks of winter regardless of whether or not the groundhog sees his shadow.

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    1. I'm not a true believer but we have so many serious things to ponder, we do need a diversion.

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  6. No shadow here, so spring is definitely on its way!

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  7. I guess he predicted 6 more weeks of winter this time. Apparently, in the last 28 years, he's been right 13 times (http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/02/punxsutawney_phil_official_fur.html). I've never paid much attention. Our seasons are different than yours, anyway.

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    1. I wonder what a Californian groundhog would predict, anyway. Having only visited California (San Diego) once in my life, I won't try to guess.

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  8. Clear and cold. Us pagan calls it Imbolc...half way between winter and spring.
    Coffee is on

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    1. I believe Imbolc is really the roots of Groundhog Day? It is interesting how cultures share from one another even where one culture seeks to wipe out another.

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