For those that missed the appearance of the weather predicting groundhogs this morning, you can breathe a sigh of relief and rejoice because Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam didn’t see his shadow, however, according to Ontario’s Wiarton Willie winter attire will still be needed as the groundhog saw his shadow.
Looking south Punxsutawney Phil from Punxsutawney, PA had the same prediction as Shubenacadie Sam, an early spring is on its way, although the predication doesn’t come as much of a shock considering the mild winter temperatures across much of the country.
The annual celebration of Groundhog Day began with the appearance Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam. The groundhog came out of his borrow and did not see a shadow, which according to folklore means an early spring.
According to tradition, if the groundhog sees its shadow on Feb. 2 it will scurry back into its burrow, meaning six more weeks of winter. If it doesn’t see its shadow, then an early spring is on the horizon.
Feb. 2 is a highly anticipated day in the world of weather and can its roots can be traced back to hundreds of years ago in Europe. In parts of Europe, mostly current day Germany, people revered animals and practiced nature worship. A badger was used to predict the coming of spring. The practice was eventually imported to the new world and took root in Pennsylvania, where the badger replaced with a groundhog.
This lighthearted celebration also shares a day with a Catholic holiday known as Candlemas.
Whether Canadians actually believe in the predictive powers of the groundhog or not, the mild winter this year can speak for itself. Most of the country experienced less than usual snowfall and warmer than usual temperatures. The warmer temperatures can be attributed to the El Nino weather system in the Pacific Ocean.