Published on Sunday, 01 February 2009 14:57
February 2 is halfway between winter and spring here in the Northern hemisphere. Everyone wants to know if Spring will come early or late. On Feb. 2, we turn to a rodent to predict the weather.
In the U.S, the honor goes to Punxatawny Phil, of Gobbler's Knob, Pennsylvania. At the website you can watch video of past predictions, download some coloring pages, and try the recipe for "Groundhog Cookies."
Not to be outdone, Canada has its own weather prediction Marmota monax, Wiarton Willie. At his site, you can see him on the live webcam, check the groundhog jokes, try some puzzles, and (of course) find out what he forecasts!
But there are many other weather rodents out there!
A history of Groundhog Day says that the custom originally came from Germany, and its first appearance in America was in this diary:
February 4, 1841 - from Morgantown, Berks County (Pennsylvania) storekeeper James Morris' diary..."Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate."
According to the old English saying:
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again.
If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
There'll be two winters in the year.
For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
So far will the snow swirl until May.
For as the snow blows on Candlemas Day,
So far will the sun shine before May.
And from America:
If the sun shines on Groundhog Day;
Half the fuel and half the hay.
Try this cool make-it-yourself peek-a-boo weather woodchuck and make your own prediction!