Thursday, February 2, 2012

Groundhog Day

This week has been very very samey. Twelve hours at the desk each day, no external meetings (though lots if internal ones), trying to progress everything for the upcoming festival, returning home knackered & goggle-eyed... and then each morning starting again seemingly from scratch. 

Funnily enough, today is Groundhog Day - if not in China then certainly in North America. I never heard of it until seeing the film, with Bill Murray playing his usual hapless lead. But what exactly is Groundhog Day and what's it got to do with a large rodent?

According to folklore, if it's cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring will come early. If it's sunny, the groundhog will supposedly be scared by its shadow and go back into its burrow, and the winter weather will continue for six more weeks. I love stupid stuff like this. It's a big event in Punxsutawney apparently, where (good old Wikipedia tells us) "The Pennsylvania German dialect is the only language spoken at the event, and those who speak English pay a penalty, usually in the form of a nickel, dime or quarter, per word spoken, put into a bowl in the center of the table". On the news tonight, they showed the top-hatted town elders holding up a non-plussed looking groundhog and proclaiming in semi-serious tones to an audience of several thousand that "There will be six more weeks of winter". The bowl must have been chinking though, because I understood every word of that. Wonderful.

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