Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Woodchuck Wednesday Redux: Special Groundhog Day Edition

If Woody the Woodchuck could exit his ice-encrusted burrow tomorrow, he'd be dead meat.* It's a good thing for Woody and for us that he's trapped inside. We don't need any woodchuck (Marmota monax, AKA groundhog) seeing his shadow this Groundhog Day. Here in New Haven, on the Connecticut coastline, we've received over three feet of snow in the last month, way more than normal. We are ready for Spring.

Which brings us back to Groundhog Day. Just how did the groundhog known as Phil in his burrow on Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, PA become the official prognosticator of Spring’s return each February 2? According to the FAQs on the official Groundhog Day site, “The celebration of Groundhog Day began with the Germans, Pennsylvania’s earliest settlers. They brought with them the legend of Candlemas Day [observed on February 2], which states ‘For as the sun shines on Candlemas day, so far will the snow swirl in May…’ The settlers found that groundhogs were plentiful and were the most intelligent and sensible animal to carry on the legend of Candlemas Day.” According to the established tradition, if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If he does not see his shadow, there will be an early spring.

The site further proclaims that the Phil making his prediction tomorrow is the same Phil who popped his head out on the very first Groundhog Day in 1887! He gets his longevity by taking one sip of a special punch at the Groundhog Picnic each summer. [And if he is like Woody in New Haven he also eats a diet rich in organic vegetables pilfered from area gardens.] Phil’s predictions are made to the Groundhog Club president in Groundhogese, and then translated by the president for the world.

Results from a study described in a 2005 issue of the National Geographic indicate that Phil’s days as a weather predictor may be numbered. According to those Italian and American atmospheric scientists, “Winter as we know it likely will disappear in the Northeast.” The year mentioned? 2105! It’s hard to believe on a day like today.  

Back to February 2, 2011. You can view “Punx Phil”’s prediction live at approximately 7:25 am EST, friend him on Facebook, or follow his tweets. You can send a celebratory Groundhog Day eCard or even earn a Foursquare PA Groundhog Day badge that can be unlocked ONLY on February 2, 2011. 

Groundhog Day (15th Anniversary Special Edition) [Blu-ray]
My plans to celebrate the day? I’m going to watch one of my 10 favorite movies — Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray, with my best friend.

Have a good one! And all you survivors of the very recent “monster” storm which rolled across the country — Watch out for those icy patches!

*See my original Woodchuck Wednesday post.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds great. Another good use for coffee grounds for those not interested in 'shroom farming is around your rose bushes, if you have any.