This February 2, we observe Imbolc, a pagan celebration, and Candlemas, a Christian one. Most of you just call it Groundhog Day.
We had a discussion on winter solstice a while back. Now, we need to discuss the forthcoming day, February 2, better known as Groundhog Day. Will the groundhog see his shadow or not? That is the question on everybody's mind. If he sees it, does that mean there will be six more weeks of winter or, is it over?
This past Sunday, Chicago's Daily Herald ran a very informative article by Diana Dretske. Here is a short synopsis of it.
February 2nd is six weeks away from the spring equinox. Imbolc was the original name for it and it comes from a pagan ritual celebrating the forthcoming gestation of seeds. It became christianized in the 300s AD as Candlemas, the purification of Mary after Jesus' birth, set at 40 days afterwards.
In Europe, badgers and bears were used to predict spring's arrival. This is about the time when hibernating animals start stirring. The earliest-known groundhog observance was in Pennsylvania in 1841.
The most famous one, of course, is Punxsutawney Phil, in Pennsylvania. He is also the "official US groundhog". Here in Illinois, we have Woodstock Willie. Other prognosticating hogs are Jimmy the Groundhog in Wisconsin, General Beauregard Lee (I like that name) in Georgia, and Balzac Billy in Alberta, Canada.
I couldn't get a direct link, but you can go to
http://www.dailyherald.com and go to the 7 day story search and type in groundhog day for the article. I don't know if the article will still be available on line after this week, so check it out.
Perhaps, our road warriors who plan to be out there in the next six weeks might want to be apprised of the forecasts.
Diana Dretske is coordinator of the Lake County Discovery Museum in Wauconda, Illinois. If any of you are into postcards, they have probably the biggest collection anywhere in the US with the Curt Teich Archives.
Perhaps some of you can reply with whether or not your local groundhog saw his/her shadow. Please give names and where they're located.
Also, check out the Groundhog Day in Woodstock, Illinois thread. The celebration is this week and weekend.
By the way, if you're wondering about what happens if the groundhog sees his shadow, the answer is, we have six more weeks of winter.
Will the RoadDog see His Shadow? Only the Two Lane Highway Knows.