In Stitches

Thursday, February 02, 2006

How Much Wood Would A...

Woodchuck Chuck, if a Woodchuck Could Chuck Wood? ;D

Happy Ground Hog Day! Here is a little bit of info about the origins of Ground Hog Day.

When German settlers arrived in the 1700s, they brought a tradition known as Candlemas Day, which has an early origin in the pagan celebration of Imbolc. It came at the mid-point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Superstition held that if the weather was fair, the second half of Winter would be stormy and cold. For the early Christians in Europe, it was the custom on Candlemas Day for clergy to bless candles and distribute them to the people in the dark of Winter. A lighted candle was placed in each window of the home. The day's weather continued to be important. If the sun came out February 2, halfway between Winter and Spring, it meant six more weeks of wintry weather.

If the sun made an appearance on Candlemas Day, an animal would cast a shadow, thus predicting six more weeks of Winter. Germans watched a badger for the shadow. In Pennsylvania, the groundhog, upon waking from mid-Winter hibernation, was selected as the replacement. Pennsylvania's official celebration of Groundhog Day began on February 2nd, 1886 with a proclamation in The Punxsutawney Spirit by the newspaper's editor, Clymer Freas: "Today is groundhog day and up to the time of going to press the beast has not seen its shadow." The groundhog was given the name "Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary'' and his hometown thus called the "Weather Capital of the World.'' His debut performance: no shadow - early Spring. The legendary first trip to Gobbler's Knob was made the following year.

Sad to say that Phil in Pennsylvania did see his shadow, so traditionally this means 6 more weeks of Winter. BUT, here in Nebraska we have our own little rodent weather predictor. His name is Unadilla Bill. Bill isn't quite as lively as Phil, mainly cuz he's stuffed. LOL

This morning they had the "official ceremony" and Bill didn't see his shadow. Which for us Nebraskans means an early Spring and considering the weather we've had lately I'm not surprised.

If you want to see more about the whole "Ground Hog Day" tradition you can click this little guy and read up on all the ground hogs that are out there predicting the weather. ;)

Image hosting by Photobucket Now if you look through this list you will see that the U.S. isn't the only place that has a weather predicting ground hog. Canada, Nova Scotia and Germany also have their own.

So here's hoping for an early Spring and milder weather for everybody!

Thanks to everyone for sharing their stitching techniques. It's always fun to find who does what! And thanks so much for all your comments on my project, it isn't always easy to see the "big picture" when your nose is stuck to the fabric. LOL

3 comment(s):

We have that day in France too. It is called the Chandeleur (from chandelle, "candle"). It dates back from Roman traditions, but was integrated within the Catholic calendar.
Maybe we should feel lucky, cause we haven't had one minute of sunlight today - hence, no shadow! ;)

This is a happy day - days are really gonna start to be longer now! :D

By Blogger Isabelle, at 2/02/2006 12:04 PM  

It was so overcast here today that no groundhog could've possibly seen a shadow. Had to keep the lights on indoors all day!

By Blogger Barbara, at 2/02/2006 4:02 PM  

Thank you for all this! It's great to see how it works! This groundhog day is very attractive to us, Europeans... Here, on Chandeleur day, tradition makes us make pancakes. But I never make pancakes on that day! resistance...
Lots of hugs!

By Blogger Lili, at 2/03/2006 4:08 AM  

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