Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Big Surprise!
Spring Is 6 Weeks Away!

OK, I'll turn off the sarcasm now.

After all, it's...

Actually, I find the whole Punxsutawney Phil Phenomenon charming, don't you?

Once a year, Small Town America comes to life in Western Pennsylvania, and the entire country halts, momentarily, its Hell-In-A-Hand-Basket journey.

But did you know that the Germans who settled in PA brought their pagan (yep, pagan!) observance of Imbolog with them, which they, of course, had blessed with a Christian stamp of approval?

And while we're at it, those quaint folks in PA aren't Dutch. Pennsylvania Dutch is actually Pennsylvania Deutsch (pronounced Doytch)...

But Real Americans can't be bothered with correct pronunciations, now can they?

Deutsch is the German word for... German.

Anyway, here's the real story...

Groundhog Day, celebrated on February 2, has its roots in an ancient Celtic celebration called Imbolog. The date is one of the four cross-quarter days of the year, the midpoints between the spring and fall equinoxes and the summer and winter solstice.

Imbolog, marking the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, was the most important of the cross-quarter days. In a society dependent on agriculture and therefore on the weather, this was a time to celebrate having made it halfway through winter. The superstition arose that if the weather was fair on Imbolog, the second half of the winterwould be cold and stormy, but if the weather was cold and overcast or stormy, the second half of the winter would be mild.

In early Christian times, February 2 was celebrated as Candlemas, but the earlier Imbolog superstitions persisted. In medieval Scotland, for example, they said, "If Candlemas be bright and clear, there'll be two winters in the year" and in England, they said, "If Candlemas be sunny and warm, ye may mend your mittens and look for a storm."

The Romans learned these traditional beliefs from the Scottish Celts, and brought them to the area that was to become Germany, where they became a part of the folk culture. German immigrants brought these beliefs with them to Pennsylvania, where the tradition of predicting the weather became centered around the woodchuck or groundhog. LINK

Here's your cutesy-assed AP news story of the day...

Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil's Prediction: More Wintry Weather to Come

By Dan Nephin Associated Press Writer
Published: Feb 2, 2005

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (AP) - Punxatawney Phil has spoken, and the news isn't good.

The world's most famous furry forecaster saw his shadow Tuesday on Gobbler's Knob, suggesting another six weeks of wintry weather.

The chubby critter delivered the prediction after he was pulled from his burrow in an oak stump at 7:31 a.m. by a top-hatted handler, and his prediction was greeted by boos from the thousands in attendance.

"He's only the messenger!" one of the members of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club - the volunteer group in charge of Phil and the town's Groundhog Day festivities - reminded the crowd braving the frigid weather.

In the years since The Punxsutawney Spirit first carried word of the groundhog's failing to see its shadow in 1886, this town of 7,500 people about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh has been dubbed the "Weather Capital of the World."

The tradition stems from the Christian holiday of Candlemas, and the belief that if a hibernating animal sees its shadow, winter will last another six weeks. If there's no shadow, spring will come early. LINK

Note how the AP's history of Groundhog Day conveniently stops with the Christian holiday of Candlemas?

It's way past time for people to start demanding the whole story from the media!


Blogger Corin said...

Love your blog! (1st time visitor.) I was sad that the link that was going to tell how Imbolog got mixed up with groundhogs came up: The requested URL /ap/breaking/MGBJNJRIP4E.html was not found on this server.

I'll be back!
BTW: How did you know my email? Also, what is "Open ID"?

4:40 PM  

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