Monday, February 2, 2009

Happy Groundhog Day (USA)

Happy Groundhog Day!

Good old Maxine, says it like it is.
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Groundhog Day
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Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, is the home of Punxsutawney Phil, the most famous of the furry weather forecasters who amble forth from their holes every February 2 to predict just how much more winter is in store for the shivering folks of the United States.
This tiny town is not so much hustle and bustle the rest of the year; but in early February and in the few months leading up to that time, Punxsutawney resembles a metropolis. And on February 2, affectionately named Groundhog Day, leaders of the community gather on Gobbler's Knob to consult with Phil, who crawls out of his hole (or sometimes has to be dragged out), who either sees his shadow or he doesn't, depending on what the community leaders "understand" Phil to say.
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As the tradition goes, if Phil sees his shadow, that means that winter is still hanging around, for another six weeks; if Phil doesn't see his shadow, the legend says, why then spring is just around the corner.
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No one is for sure just when this tradition began. It is first mentioned in the 18th Century by the Pennsylvania Dutch, possibly in conjunction with the celebration of Candlemas, which occurred halfway between the first day of winter and the first day of spring. And although the dates are not the same, the belief that the weather on Candlemas determined how soon spring would come was translated to the groundhog, or woodchuck, who was a hibernating animal who usually chose early February to end his hibernation, at least temporarily.
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Nowadays, it doesn't matter what Phil "says" or whether he is even right. It's all an excuse to get together and celebrate a "holiday" and exposure for the small, otherwise ordinary town of Punxsutawney.
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Other towns across the U.S. have their own groundhog prognosticators. One of the most famous is General Beauregard Lee, who lives in Atlanta. Even Canada has a weather groundhog, Wiarton Willy.

18 comments:

George said...

I was disappointed to learn that Phil saw his shadow today. I've had enough winter.

Denise said...

Haven't we all George, haven't we all? Thanks for stopping by.

Cezar and Léia said...

Dear Denise! We had never heard about this Groundhog Day here in Brazil but we think it`s a nice tradition! It`s cool! Best Regards...Léia :-)

Kathiesbirds said...

Ever since the movie by the same name came out the whole tradition seems to have taken on even more meaning! I hated the movie when it first came out but now it is one of my favorites!

Old Lady Lincoln said...

Well whether he saw his shadow or not, we know we'll have at least six more weeks of Winter anyway.

Love ole Maxine. I have a post coming up, telling about who actually came up with that character for Hallmark.

Michele said...

I love Maxine!!! Hehehehe....
Good post!
Hug♥

Gill - That British Woman said...

personally I think its a lot of rot this groundhog thing.......here in Canada we're going to have winter for at leat another 8 weeks, whether we like it or not!!!!

Gill in Canada......an annoyed Gill at that, as she is fed up of this weather!!

papercages said...

Our winters don't usually amount to much compared to other places in the US so I can't complain even if it does last another 6 weeks.

The Birdlady said...

I wish he had seen iit the other way!

Kay said...

Well, it was a bright sunny day today in Illinois so we know the groundhog saw his shadow here. Did we doubt we'd have 6 weeks more of winter? I think it's more like 8!

Kay said...

By the way, I really enjoyed reading about P Phil. I'd never learned the history behind that goofy groundhog.

Errant said...

very interesting !

Mary said...

Love the cartoon! Maybe if we do away with Groundhog Day, winter will come sooner :-)

antigoni said...

I like traditions. Every country, every city, every village have traditions to celebrate. Isn't that nice? People come closer and it's very important in our days.

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mommanator said...

silly thing to do!

happily retired gal said...

I love Maxine!!! As for the Groundhog, here in Southern California at the beach where I live, winter hasn't even COME!
Hugs and blessings,

Cloudia said...

Great post about my favourite silly holiday! Aloha-

Denise said...

Thanks for stopping by everyone. Always appreciate seeing you here.