February 25th, 2024

Groundhog Day: Canada’s famous furry forecasters predict early spring

By The Canadian Press on February 2, 2024.

Shubenacadie Sam looks around after emerging from his burrow at the wildlife park in Shubenacadie, N.S. on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, 2018. The beloved and occasionally controversial annual event that inspired the classic Bill Murray comedy film will see celebrity rodents make their spring predictions today. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Furry forecasters across three provinces are in agreement, predicting an early spring on Groundhog Day.

Ontario’s Wiarton Willie, Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam and Quebec’s Fred la Marmotte all reportedly did not see their shadows.

According to centuries-old folklore, that’s good news for Canadians tired of wintry weather.

The tradition holds that if a groundhog doesn’t see its shadow on Groundhog Day, springlike weather will soon arrive. But if a shadow appears, winter’s icy grip won’t let go for quite some time.

The consensus on spring’s early arrival extended to western Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil, whose annual declaration exploded in popularity after the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day”.

Folklorists say the Groundhog Day ritual may have something to do with Feb. 2 landing midway between winter solstice and spring equinox.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 2, 2024.

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