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It’s going to be a long winter

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Alpine marmots near the Grossglockner High Alpine Road, Austria, http://www.bing.com/

Today was the first bright, clear Groundhog day I can remember seeing in years. Usually it is overcast here and I feel like I can look forward to crocuses a little sooner than March 21st but it is a silly game isn’t it?

Here is a bit about Groundhog day to refresh your memory about the rhyme and what it means.

February 2nd, Groundhog day

It was also known as Candlemas or Imbolc in the old European Calendar. This is the day that Christmas or Yule decorations must officially come down. Here is the full poem for the day from the old Almanack:

If Candlemas day be fair and bright,

Winter will have another flight.

If Candlemas day be clouds and rain,

Winter is gone, and will not come again.

~ E. Holden

The US tradition honors the groundhog, or marmot, as the local weather prognosticator. Other regions honored the fox, the robin and a host of other animals. The animal chosen is not important, nor is the forecast supposed to relate to a whole country, but is said to describe a local microclimate phenomenon. So don’t look at the News, look out your window.

Here is a historical tradition,

In France, February 2nd is known as National Crepe Day—a lot of crepes are consumed, and people try their luck at guessing their fortunes while they cook them. As they hold the crepe pan in one hand and a coin in the other, they flip the crepe to see if they can catch it in the pan. A successful catch means prosperity for the year!

That one came straight from my Zojirushi newsletter, breakfast edition.

Some fun links:

The American Ground Hog: Click here to visit Punxatawney Phil’s official site.

For some of the science behind the tradition, yes, there is a wee bit of science, see the Farmer’s Almanac article.

Most importantly, watch Groundhog Day again. I love this movie.

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