Well, here in Ontario one of our most famous groundhogs, Wiarton Willie, failed to see his shadow.
Do you know what that means folks? It’s going to be an early spring. Well, if you believe this whole groundhog shadow thing I mean.
Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam also failed to see his shadow so it looks like a good portion of Canada will get an early spring. However, Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil did see his shadow. So which groundhog should we believe? I’m going with good ‘ol Wiarton Willie.
So what lies behind our February 2nd groundhog ritual?
It’s thought that when German settlers came to North America in the 1700’s they brought their tradition of Candelmas. February 2nd is the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox and according to legend if the weather was good on that day the rest of the winter would be cold and stormy.
I guess this is kind of like our March legend eh? If March comes in like a Lamb it goes out like a Lion or vise versa. Of course that means if March begins with nice weather it will end with bad winter storms.
Of course, like quite a few other traditions or holidays Groundhog day became commercialized. It all started when the Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper editor, Clymer Freas – don’t you love that name? – came up with the idea in 1886. It became quite popular and that’s why Pennsylvania now has it’s famous Punxsutawney Phil.
The Ontario town of Wiarton came up with Wiarton Willie in 1956.