Again, we come to yet another holiday that everyone follows, watches on TV but just haven't a clue what for! Groundhog day can't also be pagan can it? Well, yes it can. Like every other major holiday, modern Americans just can't give up its pagan rituals and Groundhog day is no different. We tell ourselves that we will not follow the Old Testament Holy Days of God, because "they have been done away with, but have no problem celebrating Satan's holidays that never seem to grow old, or outdated. So for more of WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO, read on.....
What is Groundhog’s Day?:
residents of North America are familiar with Groundhog’s Day,
celebrated every year on February 2. What people may not be so familiar
with is the fact that there are important religious origins that lie
behind that celebration, even if those origins are no longer
recognizable. Today, Groundhog’s Day is treated as a purely secular, if
perhaps a bit superstitious, holiday — but that was not always the case.
February 2nd in Ancient Rome:
The name February comes from
the Latin februare, which means “to purify.” For the Romans, February
was a time of cleansing and purification. They prepared themselves for
various activities that were coming in the Spring, making a fresh
start. On February 15, Romans celebrated Luperaclia, honoring Faunus,
god of fertility. Priests of Faunus took thongs called Februa to lash
girls with, an act which was supposed to ensure fertility.
February 2nd in Nature Religions:
nature religions, February 2 is a cross-quarter or four-quarter day.
These days stand at a mid-point between solstices and equinoxes; in the
case of Groundhog’s Day, it’s the mid-point between winter solstice and
spring equinox. This day was named Imbolc or Imbolog. The word Imbolc
may come from a term for “sheep’s milk,” a reference to the first
milking of the ewes in the spring. An even earlier Indo-European word
that may be related is one that refers to the process of purification.
Why are Cross-Quarter Days Special?:
other three cross-quarter days are: Samhain, Beltane, and Lughnasa.
These days are special because divination is easier — the “veil”
between this world and the next is thinner than on other days, allowing
information and understanding to pass from the other plane to our own.
Divination meant observing nature and focused on the most immediate
needs of the community — which, in northern regions, involved the
weather. Winters were tough and people wanted to know how soon spring
Biblical & Jewish Origins of Groundhog’s Day:
to Hebrew tradition, the last stage of the birthing process occurs 40
days after birth, when the mother goes to the Temple to make an
offering and be purified. In Jesus’ and Mary’s case, this event is
described in Luke 2:22: “And when the days of her purification
according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to
Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord...” Forty days after Christmas,
the traditional date for Jesus’ birth, was fixed at February 2.
Candlemas, A Christian Festival:
Christian Church appropriated the celebrations of Imbolc just as it did
with so many of the other pagan holidays in ancient Europe. Christians
renamed this day Candlemas, partially because of the tradition of
lighting candles and perhaps also to retain the fire imagery: a common
aspect of pagan celebrations was a large fire for the purpose of
purification and cleansing. Among Catholics, Candlemas has become a day
known as the Feast of Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Christian Divination on Candlemas:
didn’t just translate pagan celebrations into Christian imagery, they
also adopted the tradition of divination on this date. Christians
believed, as did the pagans, that by observing events on this date they
could more readily learn what the weather in the coming weeks would be.
A popular English saying read:
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again.
Protestant Christianity & Candlemas:
Protestant Reformation rejected many of the traditions which were
important in Catholicism — in particular feasts and traditions
associated with saints. Protestants dismissed the common superstitions
involved with lighting candles in order to drive away demons or
sanctify anything. Henry VIII personally approved of continuing the
festival, but by the mid-18th century, Candlemas celebrations had
almost entirely disappeared in all Protestant areas.
German Hedgehogs & American Groundhogs:
groundhogs for weather prediction was brought to North America by
German farmers who had a tradition of watching for hedgehogs on this
date, following the familiar formula of determining that winter would
last longer if the day is bright enough for hedgehogs to see their
shadow, but winter would end soon if it were cloudy enough for
hedgehogs to see no shadow at all. Hedgehogs were hard to find in the
New World, but the Germans switched to the similar and far more
Groundhog’s Day in Modern America:
to current American tradition, if the groundhog sees his shadow
(because of the sunny, clear weather), there will be six more weeks of
winter. In the past the seeing of a shadow has been associated with
other, similar ideas: the groundhog would hibernate for another four
weeks, it would rain for the next seven Sundays, and so forth.
There are many traditions and sayings which preserve an association
of animal behavior with the weather. These observations may not rise to
the level of science, but they shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand,
either. Whatever their actual validity, people continue to believe
them, so it’s no surprise that Groundhog Day remains popular.
Groundhog Day is not, however, merely an attempt to use animals
to predict the weather. It also plays an important role in the
anticipation of spring and the shedding of winter. Groundhogs (also
known as woodchucks) survive harsh winters in harsh areas nearly as fat
and sassy as they were when they entered their burrows the previous
The appearance of the groundhog, regardless of whether his
shadow appears too, represents some measure of hope for the coming
spring. Commemorating shifts in the seasons, looking back on the past,
and anticipation of the future are important functions of our holidays,
especially those tied to the rhythms of nature, even when the
connection is no longer obvious.
In North America, the beginning of Spring is celebrated at the
Spring Equinox, not at the beginning of February as it was in Northern
Europe. Nevertheless, February 2 marks a shift in the year that we
commemorate with thoughts about how long winter will last and how soon
warmer weather will reappear.
In the past it was a magical time for people, but today the
only magic that is overtly acknowledged is in the supposed ability of
the groundhog to forecast the weather based upon a few moments of
observation. This is all that’s left of the ancient celebrations of the