You might have taken a look at your calendar and have seen the words “Groundhog Day” gracing the February 2nd spot. Groundhog day is an important day for many, especially the people who are dealing with cold weather. California doesn’t have too many groundhogs that I know of (plenty of gophers in my area), so it is a good time for me to learn about this day.
Why February 2nd? It’s because that day is Candlemas Day, an ancient Christian festival marking the midway point between winter and spring. All the candles that were used in the church in the coming year were brought into the church and a blessing was said over them, making it the “Mass of the Candles.” In the medieval days, it was believed the hibernating animals left their dens on Candlemas day to observe the weather and forecast early springs and late winters. The English used to use otters and badgers to forecast the weather and planting seasons as did the Germans. When German settlers came to the United States, they were not able to easily find badgers, especially in Pennsylvania where many had settled. The settlers then decided a groundhog was more suitable since they were more common.
The groundhog pops out on this day from the ground once a year. If he sees his shadow, it’s six more weeks of winter. However, if he doesn’t see his shadow, it’s an early spring!
You will be surprised to know that Groundhog Day does not just take place in the United States but in Canada as well. Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania is a well-known town that celebrates Groundhog Day. They were the first town to hold Groundhog Day 1887 with the original groundhog, who has always been named Punxsutawney Phil. This now-televised event also attracts tourists to the small town of Punxsutawney just to see the famous little groundhog and have fun along with the town regulars.
Now, if six more weeks of winter is ahead, a good way to beat it is with a good cup of hot tea. A nice cup of Yorkshire tea is a good accompaniment to a cold winter’s day. Perhaps if you do not want caffeine and just want to relax (or go back to sleep like the groundhog!), then a Georgia Peach Rooibos is another good tea. Very peachy and soothing, the color of the leaves will help take your mind off the dreary winter days. Of course, if the groundhog predicts an early spring, try them iced!
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