Saturday, February 03, 2007

Where the legend of American Groundhog Day came from
Yesterday, actually Candlemas. Apparently the part about the weather, like St Swithun’s Day, comes from mediæval Catholic folklore:
When the wind’s in the east on Candlemas Day
There it will stick till the 2nd of May...
(source)
So how did Pennsylvania’s famous rodent get into it?
Pennsylvania’s earliest settlers were Germans and they found groundhogs to in profusion in many parts of the state. They determined that the groundhog, resembling the European hedgehog, was a most intelligent and sensible animal and therefore decided that if the sun did appear on February 2nd, so wise an animal as the groundhog would see its shadow and hurry back into its underground home for another six weeks of winter.
In this part of Pennsylvania last night there was a beautiful snowfall (which didn’t stay on the ground) as a cold front moved in so today’s lovely but it’s only 25° (-4 in the new money) which means black ice on the pavement (oh, good: now my arms can match) and frozen car doors!

Like the groundhog sometimes you can spot and photograph the young fogey in his habitat.

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