Some of you may be wondering why I didn’t mention Groundhog’s Day. There is a good reason for this. It’s a smudge. A fib. A fabrication.
You see, the REAL DAY is called Candlemas Day, which has its roots in the ancient traditions of the Christian Faith.
Way back when it all started … before you could flip a switch on a wall…. folks needed candles for light. So, the clergy of their churches, would bless and distribute candles needed for winter. The candles represented how long…. and how cold… the winter would be. Hence, the Candlemas.
They had a little poem about the forthcoming weather scheme.
For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
So far will the snow swirl until May.
For as the snow blows on Candlemas Day,
So far will the sun shine before May.
Leave it to those Germans. They expanded on this concept by selecting an animal….. the hedgehog ….. as a means of predicting weather. So it started out with a blessing of the candles and a weather-predicting-hedgehog. Snow on the little old Hedgehog means sunny weather before May… and on.
Things got a little convoluted once the Deutsch got on those big boats… and started sailing west. When those German settlers came to America …. and landed their pretzels in Pennsylvania …. they realized the big truth. There are no Hedgehogs in the Americas. Das ist nicht gut für Hedgehog Day. So they created some Alternative Facts.
They decided to swap out the traditions, and the Hedgehog… for the Punxsutawney Phil. Yep, the Groundhog…. because… there are plenty of Groundhogs in the Keystone State.
Candlemas: American Style.
Well dag gone it. Hedgehogs and Groundhogs aren’t even related. Not even close. A hedgehog is any of the spiny mammals of the subfamily Erinaceinae. They are only found through parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and in New Zealand. They look a little like Porcupines, but they are not.
The groundhog (Marmota monax), also known as a woodchuck, or whistlepig, is a rodent, belonging to the group of large ground squirrels known as marmots.
These two animals don’t even do the same sorts of things. I mean, one shops for winter clothes at LL Bean, and the other at Patagonia. So… what the heck, I ask you?
And the date. February 2nd. Well, they borrowed this from the Pagan festival of Imbolc. That is the seasonal turning point of the Celtic calendar…. which is celebrated on February 2.
Yeppers. As you can see, this holiday is full of holes.
And Puxy Phil? Well. His accuracy ratings are not that great. He only marks in, at about 37% correct. Not even 4 times in 10… is he on the bread and butter.
So. There it is. Why I do not observe the Charade of Groundhogs Day.
Instead, I remind you of Candlemassssseeee Hedgehog Day on February 3rd. There was not snow on the Hedgehog today here. No sun either. Because there are no Hedgehogs in the United States. (Not naturally). So the forecast for Spring???
Yes. We will have one. It is on the way. I’d bet my Hedgehog on it.