Ms. G. predicts more winter

Groundhog Day.  February 2.  For some reason that groundhog in Pennsylvania gets all the press even though I’m not sure how he can predict the weather for the entire country.  But Massachusetts has Ms. G.  According to New England Cable News

Ms. G. predicts more winter.

Ms. G. predicts more winter.

Massachusetts has its own groundhog to make predictions about the weather on Groundhog Day.

Both Punxsutawney Phil and Ms. G, the Mass. groundhog, saw their shadows this year. Legend has it; this means that there will be six more weeks of winter.

“We don’t feel like Punxsutawney Phil has much sway here in Massachusetts. I mean, we wouldn’t use a weather forecaster from Pennsylvania to tell us our local weather,” said Tia Penney of a Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary.

Dozens of families gathered at the sanctuary on Sunday to witness Ms. G give her forecast. But, not everyone was happy with her prediction.

“I didn’t see the shadow and I wanted spring to be here, cause then, after spring, there is no school,” said Asia Faline, a Wellesley school student.
Blue Hill Weather Observatory says Ms. G is correct in her forecast 60% of the time.

So what is the origin of Groundhog Day?  Is there any science to it?  Today EarthSky news told us everything you always wanted to know about this important day.  Here are some of the interesting facts.

We all know the rules of Groundhog Day.  On February 2, a groundhog is said to forecast weather by looking for his shadow.  If it’s sunny out, and he sees it, we’re in for six more weeks of winter.  On the other hand, a cloudy Groundhog Day is supposed to forecast an early spring.

What you might not know is that Groundhog Day is really an astronomical holiday.  It’s an event that takes place in Earth’s orbit around the sun, as we move between the solstices and equinoxes.  In other words, Groundhog Day falls more or less midway between the December solstice and the March equinox.  Each cross-quarter day is actually a collection of dates, and various traditions celebrate various holidays at this time.  February 2 is the year’s first cross-quarter day.

In the ancient Celtic calendar, the year is also divided into quarter days (equinoxes and solstices) and cross-quarter days on a great neopagan wheel of the year.  Thus, just as February 2 is marked by the celebration of Candlemas by some Christians, such as the Roman Catholics, in contemporary paganism, this day is called Imbolc and is considered a traditional time for initiations.

The celebration of Groundhog Day came to America along with immigrants from Great Britain and Germany.  The tradition can be traced to early Christians in Europe, when a hedgehog was said to look for his shadow on Candlemas Day.

Try this old English rhyme:  If Candlemas Day be fair and bright, winter will have another flight.  But if it be dark with clouds and rain, winter is gone and will not come again.

So even though it has now turned a little cloudy here in Boston, the sun was out this morning and Ms. G. says more winter.  In fact,  I think the prediction is for snow on Wednesday.

Photograph is a still from the NECN story.

2 thoughts on “Ms. G. predicts more winter

  1. I’ve always gotten a giggle over the whole idea. This makes it better – have you seen a hedgehog? Like a snail, most of their body sticks to the ground. And exactly how are we to know what an animal sees, or does not see? So silly, we humans.

    Happy Imbolc, anyway! We are officially in Spring over here – I have crocus and snowdrops up as proof!

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