Groundhog Day humour

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 February, 2012, 12:00am


Our lives are surrounded by colours. We look up to a blue or grey sky; we might choose a brown or red couch; or we might own a white or black cat.

Often, we wear colours to reflect a style or mood. However, not all colours are suitable for everyone. Even your favourite may not work for you. This is where colour analysis comes in ?

If you think you're experiencing deja vu, don't fret. This is not a time loop, and this is not a full reprint of yesterday's cover. This is simply a playful nod to Groundhog Day and the comedic film the holiday spawned.

Every February 2, Groundhog Day is celebrated in Canada and the United States. And, you guessed it, the burrowing rodent is at the centre of attention.

Camera crews, weather forecasters and the public all wait in eager anticipation to see what the furry rodent will do as it emerges from the ground after hibernation. The event is seen as a weather predictor: either an early spring or a longer winter is en route.

According to the tradition, if it's a sunny day, the groundhog will come up, be frightened by its shadow and retreat back to his burrow - and winter will last for six more weeks. But if it's cloudy, there's no chance the animal will see its shadow, and it will remain above ground. That means there will be an early spring.

Groundhog Day has roots in the European tradition of Candlemas, a Christian festival that falls between winter and spring. It is when clergymen bless and light candles and place them on windowsills. According to folklore, sunshine on Candlemas is also a predictor of seasonal change. Germans, some of the United States' earliest settlers, included a groundhog into that folklore.

Perhaps the most famous weather-predicting groundhog is Punxsutawney Phil (named after his home: the US city of Punxsutawney, Philadelphia). Believers say his predictions are fairly accurate.

The folklore was brought to the big screen in 1993, with Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. Murray plays Phil (not the groundhog, but a grouchy TV meteorologist), who is covering the annual festivities in Punxsutawney.

After what seems like a gruelling workday, Phil wakes up the next morning and discovers something unusual: it's once again February 2, Groundhog Day. He is stuck in a time loop, and the events of the day are relived over and over again. (Technically, our Groundhog Day tribute repeats February 1, even though the film relives February 2. Details, details ... )

At first, Phil is spooked and uses his predicament for selfish pursuits. Later, he reforms and devotes his time to self-improvement and bettering others' lives.

The film was a huge success and is called one of the greatest comedies of all time. Since then, the term 'Groundhog Day' has crept into the pop culture lexicon. It is used to mean the recurring cycle of an unpleasant event. Maybe it's best we don't wish readers a happy Groundhog Day.