Ever wonder where Groundhog day comes from? Notice that it’s about 1/2 way to Spring?
We are now halfway between the Winter Solstice (December 21) and the Vernal or Spring Equinox (March 20). It’s called a cross-quarter day is known as Imbolc (or some variation of that spelling) in the Celtic world It’s also a modern Neopagan celebration and part of the Wheel of the Year.
Imbolc is most commonly celebrated on February 2 (same as Groundhog Day and Candlemas on the Christian calendar) but it actually occurs, according to the position of the Sun on the ecliptic, at 11:20 pm EST on Thursday, February 3 this year.
This cross-quarter day has been known since antiquity – a 5,000 year-old Neolithic passage tomb at the Hill of Tara in County Meath, Ireland has an alignment with sunrise on Imbolc. The word Imbolc comes from the Celtic i mbolg or “in the belly” referring to pregnant ewes who soon give birth to spring lambs. It was viewed as the start of spring (even though snow may yet be on the ground), a time for weather prognostication, and to watch for animals emerging from their winter dens (sound familiar? Groundhog Day has its roots in similar Germanic pagan beliefs).
Read the rest over at Hudson Valley Geologist.