Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Legend of Groundhog Day

On the church calendar,  Photobucketis known as “Candlemas Day."  Since it falls at the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, Europeans considered it a harbinger for the second half of the cold weather season.  Clear weather on this Festival of Lights day was seen to signal snowy weeks ahead while cloudy conditions brought the promise of temperate temps. 

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

Scottish Rhyme:
If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
There'll be two winters in the year.

German Rhyme:
For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
So far will the snow swirl until May.

In actuality, meteorological science supports this folktale.  Clear skies in early February could be associated with persistent masses of cold, dry air that would prolong low temperatures, while overcast skies could indicate wetter, more moderate days ahead.

The Germans added animal lore to their Candlemas story, saying that if the weather was sunny enough to scare a badger back into its hole, there were more wintry days ahead. When German immigrants came to America the groundhog took the place of the badger.

All eyes will be on Punxsutawney, PA at 7:25 a.m. but here at Bon Bon Pond we will be watching for Buddy, our sweet little woodchuck who hibernates under the gazebo.  Stay tuned for updates to see if she sees her shadow . . . 


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