The Amazing Groundhog

Where do groundhog’s get their amazing ability to predict the seasons? It’s a mystery that science has yet to solve. There are other animals seem to have innate abilities to gauge weather patterns. For instance, dogs seem to get out of the way whenever a tornado blows through town. And many animals will seek shelter when it rains. But, only the noble groundhog seems to know that February 2nd is exactly 6 weeks from the Spring Equinox, the official start of Spring. Just amazing!

But, seriously folks, Groundhog (or Groundhog’s) Day is a bit of an odd holiday. Nobody really seems to know what the hell it’s commemorating. Well, the addition of the noble groundhog into the festivities may be relatively new, but the commemoration of February 2nd is quite old. Like many holidays, it’s celestial in origin. February 2nd is the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. In Pagan circles, it’s known as Imbolc and it is often associated with the Gaelic goddess Brigid (later to become Saint Brigid after the Catholics decided that having a local saint or two would help to convert a few Irish).

In the Christian religions, the same day is celebrated as Candlemass, or the Feast of the Presentation, in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches.

Pope Innocent the XII commented on the origins of Candlemass in a sermon:

Why do we in this feast carry candles? Because the Gentiles dedicated the month of February to the infernal gods, and as at the beginning of it Pluto stole Proserpine, and her mother Ceres sought her in the night with lighted candles, so they, at the beginning of the month, walked about the city with lighted candles. Because the holy fathers could not extirpate the custom, they ordained that Christians should carry about candles in honor of the Blessed Virgin; and thus what was done before in the honor of Ceres is now done in honor of the Blessed Virgin

But, no matter what the origin of the holiday, we can all … well, nobody really does much of  anything for it. It’s too cold to get naked in the woods, and bars don’t really have any drink specials associated with it. I don’t think anyone would want to drink a Spicy Groundhog, anyway.


Explore posts in the same categories: Superstition in the Modern World

2 Comments on “The Amazing Groundhog”

  1. Actually it’s a little known fact that Ground Hog Day goes back to the 1st Centure CE, and has a Christian basis.

    It seems that there was a ground hog burrow immediately under the cross upon which jesus was nailed. Part way through his ordeal the ground hog emerged, looked up at Jesus, and immediately declared there would be 2100 more years of gross stupidity based on that execution.

    He was right. Mercifully, it’s almost over.

  2. Victor Says:

    And thy Ground Hog sayeth, “This can’t be good”.

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