Updated  Monday, December 10, 2018 07:24 AM est                                                     Your online source for old news


Is An Early End to Winter a Possibility? Click to visit Hoghaven 

How much longer will winter last? Many anxiously await this special forecast as Groundhog Day approaches. Itís a simple formula, if the groundhog comes out on February 2, and sees his shadow, (implying the sun is out) heíll go back into his hole, and thereíll be another six weeks of winter. If thereís no shadow, he stays outside, and Spring will be here. Sounds fantastic? In these days of global warming, greenhouse effect, and El Nino, can we be so sure?

The basis of Groundhog Day can be traced back to the early Christian holiday Candelmas, which comes 40 days after Christmas. 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

Many Christian celebrations replaced older observances. The date also happens to fall midway between winter solstice and vernal equinox, important seasonal turning points known by ancient societies to describe the sunís movement through the sky and the length of night and day.

So what does any of this have to do with the groundhog? Well, being a true hibernator, they usually donít emerge until March. If their sleep cycle is somehow affected by climatic changes, then his early appearance in February may be interpreted as an indicator of warmer months ahead. Or maybe they just pay better attention to the world around them than we do! ( Or perhaps they're out looking for other groundhogs to..., uh well, know.)

Anyway, what does all of this have to do with Old Time music? Well, the groundhog does have his own song:

Here comes Groundhog outta his hole
Sees his shadow, 
against the wall,
Six more weeks of winter
f'o' y'all,
Poor Groundhog!

ALRIGHT, I CONFESS!!!  I just made up that verse, the song doesn't really have anything to do with Groundhog Day. But, Old Time musicians do spend their vacations travelling to festivals, and even if the weather never stops the music for long, it is a comfort to be able to mentally prepare for it. So, if you're lucky enough to be really tight with a groundhog, (they make great traveling companions) you'll be the first to know when the next ice age arrives. For those of us not so lucky, keep watching the Weather Channel!

Mark     :8^{>~

Please visit the official Groundhog Day site: