Groundhog Day: Willie and Sam are at odds over the arrival of spring

Canadian groundhogs were famously divided about the arrival of spring Thursday, but in what was likely a grim prediction, it was announced that a furry predictor in Quebec had died before he could predict Groundhog Day.

Fred la Marmot is dead, organizers in Val-despoirs, Que, told the crowd who gathered in anticipation of the annual ferret prediction.

The announcement came after most of the action, including a dance break with Fred’s large mascot, with no mention of the animal’s death.

Roberto Blondin, one of the organizers, told the crowd at the end, “In life, the only certain thing is that nothing is certain.”

Blondin explained that Fred had no vital signs when efforts were made to rouse the animal from its winter hibernation. He said the nine-year-old groundhog likely died in late fall or early December.

In Fred’s place, the organizers pulled a stuffed groundhog from Fred’s miniature wooded cabin, handed it to a young boy and then lifted the baby into the air. The boy later gathers with other children on stage before calling out for another six weeks of winter.

According to folklore, if a groundhog sees its shadow on Groundhog Day, it will continue winter. However, if he did not detect her shadow, spring-like weather would soon arrive.

Among the famous Canadian groundhogs who made it to sunrise, predictions were divided.

Groundhogs in Ontario and Alberta predict early spring

Wiarton Willie from Ontario called to the beginning of spring, with his distant cousin Balzac Bailey in Alberta. It so happened that both lemmings did not look at their shadows when they awoke from their slumber, a traditional sign that winter would soon recede.

Although the lemmings’ predictions are quite mythical, one can certainly see the appeal of enjoying the warm sands and blue skies in early spring. Star’s travel recommendations to a A resort on a cliff on the Amalfi Coastor a Sports trip to the famous golf town of Scottsdale in Arizonayou can start your travel plans early in the spring.

Shubenacadie Sam and Lucy the Lobster are among the Canadian majority who expect more from winter

Sam Shubinacade, Nova Scotia’s most famous rat, appeared to see her shadow Thursday morning as she emerged from a snow-covered enclosure at a wildlife park north of Halifax.

Just after 8 a.m. local time, the door to Sam’s pint-sized barn flung open, she backed out slowly in the cold, then scurried across the snow toward the fence.

Shubenacadie Wildlife Park’s annual tradition, which is livestreamed on Facebook, has been closed to visitors for the past two years due to COVID-19 collection restrictions — and in-person celebrations were canceled in 2020 due to a storm.

But a small crowd, including a group of children, braved -20C weather on Thursday.

As expected, Sam was the first North American groundhog to predict — thanks to the Atlantic time zone.

Sam got along with the Manitoba Merv as well as the other creature of Nova Scotia’s weather forecaster, Lucy the Lobster of Barrington.

The crustacean reportedly crawled out of the ocean on Cape Sable Island shortly after 8 a.m. and, according to the organizers, saw its shadow, beckoning Sam and Merv to another six weeks of winter.

The majority of groundhogs have spoken. For those shivering at the prospect of a longer winter, the star has it A list of recommendations from Canadian travel writers on where to escape freezing temperatures for some sun, surf, and sand.

He recalls the turn of events in Quebec’s groundhog days gone by.

On Groundhog Day 1999, the children burst into tears when Werton Willie’s handlers announced that the groundhog had died two days earlier. In his place, a white groundhog they claimed to be Willy was brought in in a small pine coffin, carrying a carrot.

The scene made international headlines, but the mayor of South Bruce Peninsula had to later admit that the stuffed groundhog in the coffin was not, in fact, Willie, but rather a spare.

On Groundhog Day 2021, there is more controversy surrounding Willie.

Groundhogs were nowhere to be seen at the virtual festivities on the crucial morning — the city released a video that showed the mayor throwing a fur hat and making the annual prediction. There was no in-person event due to the pandemic.

It took nine months before the city acknowledged that the albino ferret was dead.

Willie’s handlers on the South Bruce Peninsula brought in a replacement last year, but this animal was the usual brown—a break from a decades-old tradition.

This year’s replacement – another white groundhog – was recruited last summer from Cleveland, California. Ohio, said borough spokeswoman Danielle Edwards.

Willie was brought on stage in a glass box on Thursday and South Bruce Peninsula Mayor Gary Michie put an ear in the box and announced that the lemmings had heralded the arrival of spring. Local legend says that the mayor is the only person who can speak “groundhog”.

Meanwhile, in the United States, Punxsutawney Phil agrees with Sam for the second year in a row, predicting another six weeks of winter.

Folklorists say the ritual of Groundhog Day may have something to do with February 2 falling halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, but no one knows for sure. In medieval Europe, farmers believed that if hedgehogs came out of their burrows to catch insects, this was a sure sign of the onset of spring.

However, when Europeans settled eastern North America, the groundhog was replaced by the hedgehog.

In a hilarious peer-reviewed study published by the American Meteorological Society, researchers at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont. , concluded that groundhogs are “beyond a reasonable doubt” and are no better at predicting the onset of spring than flipping a coin.

– With files from Star’s Digital Desk in Toronto, Sidhartha Banerjee in Montreal and Michael McDonald in Halifax.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on February 2, 2023.

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