Happy Groundhog Day, the day where normally intelligent people rely on a rodent who supposedly predicts the arrival of spring. I myself have never put much stock in this silliness but it made me wonder where did this madness originate.
Apparently (and unbeknownst to moi), the tradition of consulting a rodent for a sign of an early spring or a late winter stems from the Christian tradition of Candlemas having its roots in pagan observances. Wait, another pagan influence? Ahem…move over Halloween.
“Candlemas was originally a Celtic festival marking the ‘cross-quarter day,’ or midpoint of the season,” according to the Almanac website. With the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox , a sunny day “predicted” the arrival of spring in about 6 weeks. Which, I might point out, is around the same time as the arrival of the spring equinox. Hmm, what a convenient ‘coincidence,’ you say?
Digging into just how we arrived at this annual
rouse tradition where rodents predicte spring’s arrival, did you know there are a slew of season-predicting rodents, all from the Eastern part of the US. Probably the most famous of course is Punxsutawney Phil of Pennsylvania, followed by Dunkirk Dave and Staten Island Chuck both of New York, Millville Mel of New Jersey (who recently passed away and efforts to find a replacement were unsuccessful since groundhogs are hibernating this time of year), and Buckeye Chuck from Marion, Ohio. Interestingly this custom seemed to originate in Europe. Seems a bear brought the news to the French and Brits, while Germans looked to a badger for a sign of spring’s arrival. Why they just didn’t refer to the Gregorian calendar is beyond me, but then again…a lot of folklore seems baffling. When German immigrants arrived in Pennsylvania in the 1800’s, they brought the Candlemas legend with them. Pennsylvania being bereft of badgers but finding lots of groundhogs or woodchucks there, well lo and behold, an adaption of the legend came into being. Because a woodchuck is just a small bear, right? 😳
Anyway, I only had to look outside to realize spring ain’t coming any time soon. The Mile High was ‘gifted’ with between 8-12 inches of white stuff with wind chill factors pushing temperatures below zero.
These sunflower stalks in the front garden are about two feet tall and are pretty much halfway buried. The dogs weren’t very keen on trying to partake of their early morning ritual–going potty. Elsa gave me a look to chill my soul, though she bounced around once she finished while Norman’s eyes seem to ask…”do I really have to?” It’s safe to say today (and probably for the next few days) will be spent more indoors than normal given the brutally cold temps and Norman’s aversion for walking in snow.
If you were hit by this monster storm you already know the rodent’s prognostication wasn’t any kind of newsflash. And to think all we had to do was look at a calendar and not wake up some rodent from the squirrel family who shouldn’t be trusted anyway.
The good news is Friday is just a couple days away though. Stay safe and warm. Happy Hump Day.
Live, love, bark! 🐾