Ground Hog Day was Candlemas

ImageImage   Candlemas (Feb. 2nd) started as a European winter festival with pagan roots celebrating the hope for a short winter and an early spring.

   An English poem of olde,  “If Candlemas be fair and bright, winter has another flight. If Candlemas brings clouds and rain, winter will not come again.”   This weather observation was combined with the general observation of hibernating critters (groundhogs etc.) when they poked out of their dens around this time of year to form a prediction about how much more winter would have to be endured thus producing our “Ground Hogs Day” tradition and “Puxsutawawney Phil”

11 Responses to “Ground Hog Day was Candlemas”

  1. jude3obscured Says:

    Don’t you mean Potawatomi Phil, Roto?

  2. The Potawatomi are a native American tribe from the upper Mississippi region who didn’t give a hoot if the groundhog saw it’s shadow as long as it didn’t see theirs. As a youth back in Richmond I had a friend who was a member of the Mataponi tribe, the Virginia Indians. I think this was the tribe of Pocahontas. His last name was Custalow and half the remaining tribe seemed to share this last name including The tribal chief. You may have heard the story of how John Smith was saved by Pocahontas from execution by the indians but that is not really what was going on. I can ‘splain but this would take up too much space for a “comment”.

  3. Powhatans became Mataponis.The episode was either made up to impress the queen (he didn’t mention it in his first account) or was a tribal ritual signifying “re-birth” into the tribe. Later John Rolfe (the guy who introduced tobbaco to the west) married Pocahontas and took her back to England where she became a celebrity. Have I mentioned that MY ancestor introduced nutmeg to the west? I hope that carries a whole lot less bad karma since we rarely read about “another nutmeg related death” except for the occasional egg nog overdose.

  4. I used to live a mile from Potawatomi State Park and my wife is descended from Pocahontas. I think I should be entitled to 40 acres and a mule, or at least a free pick-up truck.

  5. …and, did I mention – DON’T MESS WITH GROUND HOG’S DAY!

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I’ll take Renowned Rodents for 1000$, Alex
    The answer, “A rodent of renown, this famous Phil predicts the weather each February 2nd.”
    Oh! Oh!, I know this, Who is Potawatomi Phil?
    Oh! Jude,Jude,Jude that’s Puxsutawaney Phil but you have been a great contestant and you are going home with the 600$ you have already won plus a Jeopardy Tee shirt!
    Did I say Renowned Rodents? I meant Grammatically Correct for 1000$
    Jude, please stay behind the podium, Jude!
    You’re the renowned rodent, Alex! I have a kid to put through college, Trebek!
    Security! Cut to commercial!

  7. jude3obscured Says:

    It’s Punxsatawney, Roto. Note spelling. Original comment was “irony.” I also went to school with a Custalow. And interesting note about your wife, Boat; one of the lost tribes of call me Ishmael?

  8. She recently discovered the lineage when a cousin did some genealogical research and now she’s an official member of the Patawomeck tribe. It is *adorable* and we are all so proud.

  9. To Jude, sorry, sometimes I’m “Irony Challenged”. If you had written “Punxwhowanabe” or “Potwhowansani” I might have got it. The Indian tribe, not so much.
    To Chen de Bateaux, do the Patawomecks have a casino or market cigarettes? If so your little Pocahontas may have some back pay coming. Here in Texas there are very few Indian reservations. The early Texicans were so pissed off at them that they punted them all north to Oklahoma whose license plate reads, “Native America”.
    When I lived in Arizona you could tell an Indian’s tribe by their appearence. In southern Arizona we had the Papago who are short and round with no necks. They inherited what researchers have dubbed “the thrifty gene” that allowed their ancestors to survive on very little food. When allowed access to an abundant fatty white man’s diet they swelled up like balloons and got diabetes. The Apaches live in northern Arizona and they are small, wiry and strong, a good morphology for riding horses when raiding other tribes.
    And Jude, the correct spelling is “Punxsutawney” so we were both wrong, no irony intended.

  10. corndoggie Says:

    I should have suspected it from her archetypically Patawomeck eyeballs.

    I guess this also makes her a Rolfe. Quite the FIrst Families of Virginia nob, ain’t she?

    Defende rectem!

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