Friday, February 6, 2009

Pesky Punxsutawney Phil Prognostication


How's that title for a mouthful of alliteration? It's official, that pesky Punxsutawney Phil prognosticated another six weeks of winter. On a positive note, in honor of the prediction, the Etsy Trashion Team blog featured one of my items.

As many of you know I live in Western PA, not too far from Punxsutawney and the home of the famous groundhog Phil. Sadly, despite cold, cloudy skies here outside Pittsburgh, Phil saw his shadow, thus forecasting six more weeks of winter. Sometimes it feels like spring will never come! But, as there's nothing any of us can do about the weather, I try to make the best of it.

Groundhog Day is celebrated annually, in the United States and Canada, on February 2nd. According to folklore, if the groundhog emerged from his burrow and didn't see his shadow he'd leave the burrow signifying that winter was about to end. However, if he did see his shadow, he'd retreat into his burrow for another six weeks of winter. Wikipedia has a lengthy entry about the history of the day.

My favorite explanation of the history is as follows: "In the United States the tradition may also derive from a Scottish poem:
As the light grows longer
The cold grows stronger
If Candlemas be fair and bright
Winter will have another flight
If Candlemas be cloud and snow
Winter will be gone and not come again
A farmer should on Candlemas day
Have half his corn and half his hay
On Candlemas day if thorns hang a drop
You can be sure of a good pea crop"
Photo by Carolyn Kaster, AP
Ben Hughes, handler of the weather-predicting groundhog Punxsutawney Phil, holds Phil in the air after removing him from his stump at Gobbler's Knob on Groundhog Day, Monday, Feb. 2, 2009, in Punxsutawney, Pa. The Groundhog Club said Phil saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter.

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