Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Groundhogs Day and Imbolc or Brigid's Day
You Call It Groundhog Day, We Call It Imbolc by Peg Aloi
excerp:The transition of Candlemas and other ancient celebrations to Groundhog Day dates back to the time of the Roman conquest of Northern Europe: the Christian celebration of Candlemas was associated with songs like this one:
If Candlemas be fair and bright
Come, winter, have another flight
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go, winter, and come not again.
This practice of divining the weather on this day spread to Germany, and was brought to this country by some of its first German settlers, also known as Pennsylvania Dutch: hence the location of the most famous groundhog. Also, the groundhog (also known affectionately as a woodchuck) was not the original prototypical weather-divining creature: in Europe it was a hedgehog. But early American settlers were nothing if not adaptable, and so the local creature most closely resembling a hedgehog was chosen for this ritual.
Worth the read if you are a curious person. Enjoy.