Groundhog Day is the day celebrated on 2nd February where tradition holds that a groundhog emerges from its burrow, looks at the ground, and if it can see its shadow will go back in because there will be six weeks more of winter. It is celebrated in various parts of North America and is particularly associated with Punxsatawney Phil, the legendary groundhog of Punxsatawney, Pennsylvania, who is held up to see if his shadow is visible on 2nd February each year. An associated tradition is that nobody is permitted to speak English on this occasion and will be fined, the tradition appearing to originate from the Pennsylvania Dutch, who in fact speak a Low German dialect. Incidentally, i seriously considered speaking German throughout this video but changed my mind.
Surprisingly, like Trick or Treating, Groundhog Day is not just a North American tradition. It seems to have started in Ancient Rome, where the animal involved was a hedgehog. However, hedgehogs became extinct in North America during the Pliocene epoch and are now, rather oddly to European eyes, considered to be cute exotic animals only kept as pets on that continent. Another oddity is that badgers have also apparently been used - the animal in this video is an American badger, but both those and European badgers are pretty fierce, unfriendly animals, so i'm a little confused about that. In Alaska, marmots are used.
Groundhogs are in fact a large species of ground squirrel like the marmot and also known as woodchucks. They are, like the other animals, sort of gruff - hedgehogs are not aggressive of course but they do grunt quite a bit.
Groundhog Day used to be Imbolc, one of the cross-quarter days also known as Candlemas. Cross-quarter days are those halfway between the solstice and equinox and also include Lunasa, Mabon and Samhain. In the case of Groundhog Day, the day in question has "slipped" around our orbit because of the inaccuracy of the Julian calendar, which lost eleven days compared to the later Gregorian calendar. Imbolc has been the same as the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, but like Groundhog Day, that particular celebration has slipped.
The tradition is also like St Swithin's day. St Swithin is a tenth century English saint whose day is 15th July and where tradition holds that if it rains on that day, it will rain for forty days after.
There's also an element of contrarian wisdom in Groundhog Day in that it holds that the opposite of what one might expect will happen.
Sorry i didn't mention the film or Bill Murray. Maybe tomorrow.
...and i'm serious about that - eternal recurrence, you know?
What can i say about this video? Well, it's a rather late attempt at tentpole programming which may, for all i know, get a few views later today once people in North America have got up.
What i wanted to say today was, i don't understand why i'm not gaining subscribers. On the other channel, i gained six in the past two weeks or so in spite of no activity. On this one, i've lost subscribers and there seems to be a remarkable lack of interest in subbing. I can think of two reasons for this. One is that the rather variable nature of the content isn't enough to provoke loyalty. The other is that the people who watch it tend not to be very keen on subscribing generally. I don't know which it is. Of course i'd like anyone who happens to be reading this to express a view but realise this is unlikely.
Something else. Here's the views graph with the hundred line drawn on it: