Le Jour du Groundhog

And there was I thinking Groundhog Day was a quaint American tradition, as in the movie. Then I find in Les Miserables:

One day, in the course of this winter, the sun shone a little in the afternoon, but it was the second of February, that ancient Candlemas-day whose treacherous sun, the precursor of six weeks of cold, inspired Matthew Laensberg with these two lines, which have deservedly become classic:

Qu’il luise ou qu’il luiserne,
L’ours rentre en sa caverne.

What intrigues me is not that the American tradition has European parallels or origins, but that the same weather tradition should be considered valid in two such different climate systems.

Compare Wikipedia on Candlemas weather traditions, and these weather proverbs.

3 thoughts on “Le Jour du Groundhog

  1. Interesting that this excerpt also talk about a bear. On Groundhog Day, when I did a little bit on my blog, a Hungarian reader pointed out that in Hungary, they go to the zoo that day, to see what the bear does. And I also had thought that Groundhog Day was particular to America, as in the movie.

    Here’s the link to that post, the comments of which talk about the bear tradition:

  2. I’m pretty sure my crazy science teacher, who came in one day (with what I can only assume was a dead groundhog on her head) announcing it was groundhog day; was Canadian.

    • I went to high school in Wiarton. Let me just say that the Byzantine iuitrgnes surrounding Wiarton Willie would frighten a Borgia! Also: there are many, many dumb people there. What they say about inbreeding is true.PS: There is no Miss Wiarton contest. It is the Groundhog Queen contest. I kid not.

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