Snow What!

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today so we are supposed to have six more weeks of winter. It’s a tradition dating all the way back to 1887. According to Stormfax Almanac, Phil is only 39% accurate with his predictions. Admittedly, it’s tough to get it right for the entire country.

Last Sunday, amidst the falling snow, neighborhood children (with more than a little help from their Dads), created at least two snow men and one small snow child. The creator of the snowman with the scarf actually crawled around through the snow pushing the snow ball that became the snowman’s base. His kids helped patch of the uneven spots in the snowball.

February 2–Ground Hog Day, Candlemas, or Imbolc

quarter holidaysFrom Celebrating Candlemas, February 2 “is one of the great cross-quarter days which make up the wheel of the year. It falls midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox and in many traditions is considered the beginning of spring. ”

Imbolc was known  as the time for clearing the fields to prepare them for Spring planting.  It was also a time for cleansing and purification.  The fertility or fire goddess, Bridgit (before she became the Christian St. Brigid) was celebrated on this day.

st bridgit of kildare

Candlemas is traditionally a holiday where Jesus was presented to the temple and Mary was purified 40 days after giving birth to Jesus.  The ceremony is referenced in Luke (2:22-4:22)

In the United States, where groundhogs exist, it’s the day where people wait to see if the great weather prognosticator will see his shadow or not.


For more information about Candlemas Day and Ground Hog Day, click here.

Whistlepig, Groundhog, or Woodchuck

Ground hogHow much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a wood chuck could chuck wood?

How much ground does a groundhog grind if a groundhog could grind ground?

How many weeds does a whistlepig wolf when a whistlepig wants to wolf weeds?

No matter what you call the Marmota monax, the large rodent is really the largest member of the ground squirrel family.  They hibernate in the winter, living off the fat they accumulate while chowing down from early Spring through mid-autumn.

Probably the most famous Ground Hog is  Punxsutawney Phil.  Every year on February 2 (Groundhog’s Day), they haul Phil out of his burrow in hopes that he will not see his shadow.

Ground hog day signGroundhog  Day is also known as Candlemas Day according to Wikipedia.  Wikipedia includes English, Scottish, and German poems that celebrate Candlemas Day.

From England, the poem:


If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again

From Scotland, the poem:

If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
There’ll be two winters in the year

From Germany, the poem:

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

GRound Hog Day Movie locationIn 1993, Bill Murray starred in the Groundhog  Day Movie, where he played a weatherman who did not forecast a blizzard so he is forced to relive the same day over and over again until he gets it right.  Although set in Punxsutawney, PA, much of the film was actually shot in Woodstock, IL.  In 2016, Groundhog Day, the musical opened at the Old Vic in London and on Broadway in April 2017.

In 1996-1997 while American forces were deployed in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Groundhog Day movie was a metaphor for every day seeming like the day before.  That metaphor has also been applied to the weather in San Diego where allegedly ever day in the summer is sunny and 75, with a change to sunny and 65 in the winter. The famous H words–hazy, hot, and humid– exist but nobody acknowledges that.

Is your life a groundhog day?  Have you ever been groundhog counting.  (They are bigger than squirrels so they can be easier to spot.)  Join in the conversation and share your favorite groundhog story.