As a stay at home mom, nothing puts a damper in my day as much as bad weather and to say that this winter has been “harsh” would be a huge understatement – it has been absolutely brutal. Following one of the rainiest summers I can remember, Ontario residents are now enjoying one of the coldest and iciest winters in recent history. In fact, according to CityNews, Toronto is well on its way to experiencing its 2nd coldest winter in 25 years. After moving back to Canada nearly three years ago, I can’t tell you how thrilled my husband and I are to be part of history in the making (shudder).
Have you ever wondered just how groundhogs got this reputation for being the all-knowing weather forecasters of the animal world? I mean, they are pretty much gigantic squirrels – you’d think we’d put our faith in something a little less… rodent. In fact, Groundhog Day can be traced back a bit further than any of us might realize! The celebration of Groundhog Day is actually tied to a Christian holiday known as Candlemaswhich historically fell on February 2nd and was recognized by German and British immigrants who settled and scattered in and around North America. Candlemas marked the mid-point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox and coincided with the emergence of many a hedgehog from their winter slumber. The Germans even had a saying that went:
The tradition of looking to the hedgehogs for a sign of early spring continued once settlers arrived in North America, but due to a lack of hedgehogs and the prominence of their cousins, the groundhog, we now know this celebration, as Groundhog Day. Want to join in the celebrations? Head over to Wiarton in Bruce Country, for the Wiarton Willie Festival, where you can watch as Wiarton Willie predicts what the next few months, have in store!