Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Groundhog Day, Candlemas, and Shadows

Groundhog Day is, of course, not original to America--although it certainly has all the flavour of a distinctly American holiday: hucksterism, tomfoolery and food.

Groundhog Day is rooted--or perhaps in the spirit of the time I should say, its roots are burrowed in history. In America the holiday began with the Pennsylvania Dutch settlers (who are really German in their origins, but in America things get a little fuzzy on details like that) for whom the groundhog filled in for badgers or possibly even bears from the old country all tasked with weather prognostication.

And perhaps Candlemas day got plumped on top of February 2 in the hopes of suppressing pagan activities like watching for mammals to come out of the ground.

At any rate, February 2 is one of few days on which we actively hope for clouds because we do not want the groundhog to see his shadow and take fright and tumble back into the burrow for 6 more weeks of winter.

Of course, there is a little bit of groundhog in us all at this time of year. It is too easy to pull the winter doldrums over our heads and tumble back into bed.

Northern Loops will be celebrating day after-Groundhog Day with our first ever meeting at Dunnet Church Hall. Needles at the ready, shadows or not!

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