Monday, January 26, 2015
Countdown to Spring: Lore & Trivia
According to an old English song:
"If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again."
According to an old Scotch couplet:
"If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
There'll be twa (two) winters in the year."
Another variation of the Scottish rhyme:
"If Candlemas day be dry and fair,
The half o' winter to come and mair,
If Candlemas day be wet and foul,
The half of winter's gone at Yule."
The Germans recited:
"For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
So far will the snow swirl until the May."
This passage may be the one most closely represented by the first Punxsutawney Groundhog Day observances because there were references to the length of shadows in early Groundhog Day predictions.
Another February 2nd belief, used by American 19th century farmers, was:
"Groundhog Day - Half your hay.":
New England farmers knew that we were not close to the end of winter, no matter how cloudy February 2nd was. Indeed, February 2nd is often the heart of winter. If the farmer didn't have half his hay remaining, there may have been lean times for the cows before spring and fresh grass arrived.
More about "Phil":
In 1958 Phil announced that it was a "United States Chucknik," rather than a Soviet Sputnik or Muttnik that became the first man-made satellite to orbit Earth.
· In 1981 Phil wore a yellow ribbon in honor of the American hostages in Iran.
· Phil traveled to Washington DC in 1986 to meet with President Reagan. He was joined by Groundhog Club President Jim Means, Al Anthony and Bill Null.
· Phil met Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburg in 1987.
· In 1993, Columbia Pictures released the movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray.
· Phil appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show in 1995.
· In the years following the release of the movie, record crowds numbering as high as 30,000 have visited Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney!
· In 2001, Phil's prediction was shown live on the JumboTron at Times Square in New York City. Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell attended the ceremonies, making him the first sitting governor ever to do so.
· Stephen Tobolowsky, who played Ned Ryserson, in the movie Groundhog Day, attended the 2010 Groundhog Day Celebration in Punxsutawney. The film's star Bill Murray also enjoyed the Punxsutawney celebration so much that, according to the movie's director Harold Ramis, he had attended for ten years! LOL!
· Danny Rubin, writer of the screenplay Groundhog Day, attended Groundhog Day 2013. This was the first time he attended Groundhog Day since before the movie was released. He addressed the crowd by starting out with, "My, how you have grown."