Sunday is Groundhog Day. Punxsutawney Phil will be ceremoniously yanked from his burrow at 7:20 am to prognosticate weather-wise.
My prediction: Phil will say it’s cold and he’d prefer to have someone bring him breakfast in bed.
My Other Prediction: You will not be up to see the event live.
Tradition says that if Phil sees his shadow (of which he is presumably terrified) he will turn tail and hide, thus bringing six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, spring is around the corner.
My solution: I say blindfold the darn rodent if there is even a hint of shadow-casting sunshine.
The first Groundhog Day at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney was February 2, 1887. But it turns out the concept of non-meteorologists predicting the weather predates Punx Phil by a lot (that’s the technical measure).
Waaay back, clergy would bless and distribute candles for winter on Candlemas. The candles indicated how long and cold the winter would be.
The German concept held that hedgehogs could predict the weather.
In the US, we believe in the Farmer’s Almanac for reliable weather forecasting. More reliable than the TV weather people, anyway.
Five Fun Facts About Groundhogs
1. Groundhogs = woodchucks = Marmota monax
2. Groundhogs typically live 6 to 8 years.
3. They typically weigh 12 to 15 pounds. A chubby 12 to 15 pounds (at least pre-hibernation).
4. They whistle when they’re frightened or looking for a mate. Those may be the same thing.
5. Groundhogs hibernate beginning in late fall and ending sometime in March. Which probably explains why they are grumpy about being woken up February 2nd just to humor a bunch of crazy humans.
Punxsutawney people take groundhog-ness very seriously. There is much celebration (about three days of festivities) and probably groundhog themed souvenirs.
Wonder if I can talk Dad into going to Punxsutawney next year…?
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