It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Happy Groundhog Day!

wiartonSo, let me get this straight… The groundhog pops his head out of his burrow, and if he sees his shadow, we have six more weeks of winter? Or is that if he doesn’t see his shadow? I can never remember.

Probably because it’s a moot point. Six weeks from February 2 is March 17. This is Ottawa. Will it be winter or spring on March seventeenth?


Who even needs to ask?

So. If he sees (or doesn’t see) his shadow, we have six more weeks of winter. And what if he doesn’t see his shadow? Obviously, I am woefully lacking my cultural folk knowledge. Woefully.

Thankfully the Internet — Wikipedia in specific — Knows All. Here’s the straight dope on the prognosticating rodent:

Groundhog Day is an annual holiday celebrated on February 2 in the United States and Canada on which if a groundhog emerges from its burrow and fails to see its shadow because the weather is cloudy, winter will soon end. If on the other hand, it is sunny and the groundhog sees its shadow, the groundhog will supposedly retreat into its burrow, and winter will continue for six more weeks.


If he sees his shadow, six more weeks of winter, and if he doesn’t see it, winter will end SOONER???

Well. No wonder I can’t keep it straight. The year that spring arrives to Ottawa before March 17 is the year I will be dancing in the streets, celebrating this unexpected upside to global warming.

Sooner than six weeks.

Pfft, I say, again.

I have my own personal First Day of Spring. I actually write it on the calendar. My first day of spring is April 15, because by April 15 I know that the snow will be gone, finally, finally gone, and that there will be no further freak snowfalls until at least October. There are currently 72 days until spring here in Ottawa, folks. Seventy-two days before we can breathe a sigh of relief, put the damned snow shovels in the shed and pack the salt away for another year. Before we can truly enoy the sunshine and start planning the gardens.

You think that’s late? (Not you, Tammy. I know you’re laughing down your fur-trimmed sleeve at the softie southerner whining about her April springtime.) But for those of you south of sixty, who think April 15 is a tad late to rely on spring? You think I’m exaggerating?

I wish.

My own personal first day of spring used to be April 10. Until that year we had 10 cm of snow on the 12th. So there.

SO. Happy Groundhog Day everyone, the most pointless date on the Canadian calendar.

February 2, 2009 - Posted by | Canada, commemoration, Ottawa | , , , , ,


  1. Haha…fantastic post to read before work. Speaking of global warming- I’ve decided what I’ll do this month to be more “green.”

    I haven’t forgotten — there’ll be a post about that later today. I just wanted to get this one off my chest first!

    Comment by Coley Moley!!! | February 2, 2009 | Reply

  2. Eh it makes for a cute craft with the kiddos. Happy Ground Hog Day!

    Groundhog Day crafts? I’m envisioning those cone puppets, which pop up and down on a stick. Not that I’m at all prepared to make those. But maybe I’ll come up with some variation on that theme. Hmmm…

    Comment by megryansmom | February 2, 2009 | Reply

  3. I could never keep that straight either.

    And pfft indeed. 🙂

    Comment by Zayna | February 2, 2009 | Reply

  4. Actually, I was thinking April 15 is early!

    Comment by Sharkey | February 2, 2009 | Reply

  5. Groundhog day is the most pointless date here in New York, too. We have to wait until at least April 1st to breathe a sigh of relief.

    Comment by Marci | February 2, 2009 | Reply

  6. I’m way south in New Mexico (although, at about 8000′ above sea level), and March 17 is laughably early here, too. When I lived in Colorado (in a town nearly as high), the snow wouldn’t really melt until May.

    March? That’s for Texans, maybe.

    Comment by Allison | February 2, 2009 | Reply

  7. If the groundhog sees his shadow, he gets scared and dives back into the burrow for another six weeks. If he doesn’t see his shadow, he comes out to play and spring will be here soon! I personally, would be thrilled to pieces to only have six more weeks of winter. And I also think April 15 is a bit early to count on spring. I hope for May 1!!!

    We had a cute groundhog craft in our curriculum box this month. It’s a groundhog pattern that you tape to the end of a straw. Then put a slit in the middle of half a piece of construction paper, the kids can decorate the paper with an outdoor scene, and slide the groundhog puppet through the hole.

    Comment by Bev | February 2, 2009 | Reply

  8. […] Resolution: February Edition No, I haven’t forgotten! I just had to deal with Groundhog Day on Groundhog Day, it being such an Important Holiday and […]

    Pingback by My New Year’s Resolution: February Edition « It’s Not All Mary Poppins | February 3, 2009 | Reply

  9. Thi is exactly what I was saying to Misterpie – even here in Toronto, which is practically tropical by comparison, there is no way we have anything less than 8-10 weeks left of winter, no matter what the ‘hog says. It’s a sham! The opiate of the masses for Februaary or something like that.

    Comment by kittenpie | February 3, 2009 | Reply

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