Ground Hog Day, and why I enjoy it more than Thanksgiving…

Reflections on a minor holiday:

February 2nd, 2008


The first thing I did this morning was to note whether or not I could see my OWN shadow, full in the knowledge that my shadow isn’t the one that matters. I’ve loved Ground Hog Day ever since my father first tried to explain it to me. There’s the matter of the oddness of it all;  so, it’s sunny and bright, and a beautiful winter day, and what does that tell us? That winter will be PROLONGED!

I love the contradictions. Sunshine means more cold, The anthropomorphism of  interpreting the behavior of the woodchuck, himself. But also the innate sense of it:  to interpret nature, look to nature. It’s silly and wise all at once.

The holiday also connects with Candlemas Day and the Gaelic feast day, Imbolc, both of which are concerned with a time of weather prognostication and wisdom for surviving the winter.

One Scottish poem concerning Candlemas Day says:

As the light grows longer
The cold grows stronger
If Candlemas be fair and bright
Winter will have another flight
If Candlemas be cloud and snow
Winter will be gone and not come again
A farmer should on Candlemas day
Have half his corn and half his hay
On Candlemas day if thorns hang a drop
You can be sure of a good pea crop

Scottish Gaelic proverb about Imbolc goes:

Thig an nathair as an toll
La donn Bride,
Ged robh tri traighean dh’ an t-sneachd
Air leachd an lair.

“The serpent will come from the hole
On the brown Day of Bride,
Though there should be three feet of snow
On the flat surface of the ground.” [1]

So curl up tonight with the Bill Murray/Andie McDowell film, and enjoy your Groundhog Day to the fullest!

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