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Linguatastic Language School

Anybody else currently sometimes feeling like they are in the film Groundhog Day, living the same day over and over again? It was the film which led to the term “Groundhog Day” becoming part of the English lexicon and in many ways, it sums up the monotonous, unpleasant and repetitive situation we have found ourselves in these past 11 months. The reason for bringing up Groundhog Day though, isn't for us to dwell on the sombre situation, it’s actually to share with you a bit of history and culture…

On 2nd February, it is Candlemas. Apart from being a Christian Holy Day commemorating the presentation of Jesus at the Temple, it was for centuries, the day people predicted spring weather. They would watch badgers, hedgehogs and other small animals which might leave their hibernation dens, inspect the weather and depending on what they found decide whether or not they would disappear for another six weeks.

Germans developed their own take on the legend, declaring the day sunny, only if the creatures had a shadow. No shadow meant a quick end to the cold winter season. When German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries, they took the custom with them, but as there weren’t hedgehogs around, they chose the native groundhog as the annual forecaster. And from that, grew “Groundhog Day”. So, let’s hope that we don’t see any hedgehogs’ shadows on Tuesday 2nd February and that the days will therefore get brighter sooner rather than later and our groundhog day feeling will be but a distant memory!

Remember, you can help yourself get out of the rut of Groundhog Day by learning a new language and making new friends with Linguatastic. E-mail info@linguatastic.com. Secondary school pupils, we have some lessons to support you!

Fiona Biermann