The 2nd February is Groundhog Day. An occasion citizen’s of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, observe the behaviour of local groundhogs as they emerge from their burrows. In particular their reactions to that day’s meteorological conditions. Folklore decreeing:-
If it’s cloudy on first leaving their burrows spring will arrive before the vernal equinox.
If it’s sunny then the groundhog will retreat into the burrow after seeing its shadow. Consequently, wintry conditions will prevail for another six weeks.
If it’s raining the groundhog will again retreat into the burrow. Re-emerging a few minutes later with wood, hammer and nails to build an ark. Indicating weeks of non-stop rain.
Groundhog Day started as a custom in south east and central Pennsylvania, USA, in the 18th and 19th centuries. Its origins laying in ancient western Europe weather lore; before it evolved into more reliable scientific indicators, such as reactions of old Hans’ bunions and how low emus built their nests.
In current day south eastern Pennsylvania, Groundhog Lodges (Grundsow Lodges) celebrate the holiday with a fersommlinge – Social events in which food is served, speeches are made and entertainment is provided via the medium of plays. As the speaking of English is frowned upon during these occasions, the only language spoken at the fersommlinge is the traditional Pennsylvania German dialect.
As we are bereft of groundhogs in the West Yorkshire area, on 2nd February we in chez Strachan aren’t blessed with such useful meteorological indicators. That being said, when my 25 year old daughter Rachel lived at home her reactions on emerging from her room on that day indicating the following upcoming weather:-
If Rachel emerged from her room dishevelled and grumpy, it rained until her birthday in the middle of March.
If she was happy, it would snow for a month in all equatorial nations.
If on emerging she said “Morning dad!”, then regardless of the weather she was after a lift to work.
If my youngest offspring’s initial greeting of the day was “Stop arsing around all the time, dad!”, it wasn’t a meteorological indicator. Moreover a sign to give her a wide berth for the rest of the 2nd February.
I’ve never seen the movie Groundhog Day which, you’ll not be surprised to hear, is based on the holiday I’ve alluded throughout this narrative. A film in which, I’m reliably told, Bill Murray plays an arrogant weatherman. A sort of Piers Morgan but egotistically delivering meteorological forecasts to breakfast viewers, instead of topical news affairs.
As with the bedraggled woman with more kids than teeth on a recent Jeremy Kyle show, I’ve never fancied it. The movie that is, not Piers Morgan, although thinking about it that also applies.
I’ve just read that today one of the Sky movie channels is replaying ‘Groundhog Day’ repeatedly for 24 hours. Repeat broadcasts which I’m going to give that a wide berth.
Instead of Groundhog Day, I’m going to celebrate ‘Boss Hogg Day’ by watching back to back re-runs of the Dukes of Hazzard! …… Yeeha!!!