Groundhog day

Thursdays Bite

a blog for the paranormal-not the normal

I’ve always felt that spring starts in February. I know officially we have weeks of winter, but the wind feels a little warmer, there is more sun, and I feel springy. Shouldn’t that be enough?

Well guess what,  I’m right! Just as I’ve instinctively felt fall starts much earlier than our boring calendar, it turns out that the Celtic Pagan Calendar starts spring on February First. Imbolc. This is the pagan day when the goddess Brighid is celebrated. Bridhid has now morphed in our modern world into St. Bridgit and Imbolc has morphed into Candlemas. Or Groundhog day.

Why the date change? Well, the pagan calendar is not set by the date, it’s set by the seasons, so Imbolc usually falls on February 1st, but it might be January 31st some years and February 2nd others. We modern people, however, like rigidity, so our holidays all fall on the same dates and February 2nd is it.

 So how did we get from Imbolic to Candlemas to Punxsutawaney Phil?

There is a pagan tradition that if a hibernating animal casts it’s shadow on Imbolc, winter will last another six weeks. In Pennsylvania, where the people who we call the Pennsylvania Dutch settled (otherwise known as Germans), they brought with them that myth in the form of a hedgehog. I’m sure you can see how they would transfer the hedgehog into the groundhog.

All of this makes sense. What is a little unusual is the now magical tradition of Punxsutawney Phil. Did you know that supposedly this is the same groundhog they’ve been using for one hundred and twenty three years? Every summer members of the inner circle feed Phil a special potion that extends his life another seven years. They even have special top hats and coats, dressing up for their mystical rites. If that’s not spell casting I don’t know what is.

“If Candlemas be fair and bright,

Winter has another flight.

If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,

Winter will not come again.”

Did you know that Groundhog day had it’s roots in Imbolc? Did you suspect that Punxsuawney Phil was well over one hundred or that he’s a magical being? Have you ever seen the movie “Groundhog Day” with Bill Murray? It’s one of my favorites!

Don’t forget to find me on Romance and Beyond on Friday where I’m blogging about the other reason (besides spring) that I love February.


Filed under paranormal inspiration, roots of paranormal romance, Thursdays Bite, witches

8 responses to “Groundhog day

  1. And we have Wiarton Willie here in Ontario and he actually did die. Imagine going to check on Feb 2 and your weather measure is kaput. Another groundhog stepped up to save the free world, though. I remember trying to explain all this to my class of Vietnamese boat people in the eighties. Now that was funny!

    • Wiarton Willie! Did they keep the name for the next groundhog? I love the idea of trying to explain this to another culture. Especially one that would likely eat Willie. They eat everything over in Asia! Shh, don’t tell Phil and Willie. 😉

  2. ‘What About Bob’ fixation aside, I love this movie. Talk about getting hit over the head with the lessons required to turn a character into the person he was meant to become.

    So interesting, how beliefs and practices come into being. Influenced on nature, how can the practices not make sense?

    Miniature snowdrifts are forming on my window panes, snow is swirling across the yard, carried by spiralling winds, but beneath that white blanket, spring is in preparation. Buds will bloom. The summer sun will knock out the shadow of winter.

    • You are such a poet! What a lovely image of snow. I wish we had more, we are looking at a pretty bad drought this summer if we don’t get some snow this spring. Here’s hoping Phil is right and we have not just six more weeks of winter, but we have some snow to go with it!

      We found the movie and DVR’d it, I’m pretty excited to share it with the girls this weekend.

  3. I loved that movie. And since then, the concept has been reprised in many tv shows. It’s one movie forgotten by the Oscars.

  4. I can’t look at Bill Murray without grinning.

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