Is it the Marmot Day or the Hedgehog Day?
The world today is marking the Marmot Day, a traditionally American holiday, which is gaining popularity elsewhere.
On February 2, people in the United States and Canada try to find out how soon the spring is coming. To determine that, people need to monitor the behavior of a marmot that scrambles out of its hole.
If the day is overcast and the marmot does not see its shadow, it will quietly leave the hole – the sign that the spring is coming soon.
If the day is sunny and the marmot sees its shadow, it will hide back in, thus telling the people to live for the coming six weeks by winter rules.
We have asked Belarusian musician Aliaksandr Pomidoroff to comment on this holiday.
“I don’t really know…It looks like a fairy tale for children. The American people are a very amazing phenomenon. They are like a not-always-tasteful cocktail from different nations and backgrounds. I do not see much sense to notice this holiday on our territory. This year all our animals, who were supposed to be winter-sleeping, are wandering around the forests. Poor hedgehogs, beavers and bears are suffering,” he said.
Let’s look up at the history. A tradition to watch the behavior of animals and do the weather forecasts dates back to the Ancient Rome. On February 2, they used to mark the Hedgehog Day.
Romans based their meteorological forecasts in a similar way: by watching the behavior of the awaken animal – a hedgehog instead of a marmot. It is believed that the residents of the Western Europe preserved the tradition, which later ended up in America along with the European migrants.
Unfortunately, hedgehogs do not inhabit in the North America, so the Americans had to replace them with a marmot.
Is this holiday going to leave roots in this country? We have philosopher Valiancin Akudovic to reflect on this topic.
“I don’t think the Marmot Day has a future in this country. Some marginal groups might mark this day for the sake of exotics, but I am not sure that it could touch on the essence of our mentality, our life style or traditions.
My personal stance is skeptical. But, if someone tries to bring this holiday to our life, it is wonderful! The more holidays we have, it is the better. Life is not that joyful for us to refuse from additional holidays,” Akudovic said.
The marmot was recognized only in 1886 in the American town of Punkstown and was given the name of the Grand Phil. The town was often called the ‘World Weather Center”.
Every year on February 2, thousands of viewers gather there, waiting impatiently for Phil to tell the weather forecast. Unfortunately, statistics show Phil has been right in less than 40 percent of cases.
But, if you have got an interest in this holiday and are willing to forecast the weather for the nearest weeks, go to the woods, find a hedgehog and monitor its behavior. Although it is not a marmot, the hedgehog could possible forecast the spring in Belarus, too.