Most readers are probably familiar with the 1993 film Groundhog Day, where Bill Murray’s character is forced to re-live one day over and over. For those that are not aware of it, the story centres around Phil Connors (played by Murray) who works as a weather reporter on a local news station. He is dispatched to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to report on the annual sighting of the groundhog. Connors is a self-centred, mean character who is forced to change his ways through some funny capers.
It is a Groundhog Day tradition that, should the groundhog see his shadow (based on the sun shining or not), he will become afraid and will retreat back into his hole. This will signify that winter will last at least another 6 weeks. The most famous groundhog is found in Pennsylvania and goes by the name of Punxsutawney Phil. This year (on February 2nd), he predicted another 6 weeks of winter. However, there are other groundhogs – mostly in other locations in the United States – and they give varied results with some predicting continued winter and some predicting an earlier spring.
Punxsutawney Phil pops up again
I have a theory though, that there is a groundhog tradition of a kind in Poland and I haven’t yet been informed about it. The reasoning for this is based around the current weather patterns. I remember that on Friday April 30th this year, we had beautiful weather. The sun was shining strongly, without a cloud in the deep blue sky. Temperatures reached about 26 degrees Celsius and it seemed summer was on the way. However, on the next day – May 1st – all had changed. It began pouring rain, and it has barely stopped raining since then. This has resulted in flooding in many Polish towns and cities, especially those along the banks of the Wisła and the Odra.
So, I believe that on May 1st, someone released Bydgoszcz Bartosz or Rzeszów Rafał or Gdansk Grzegorz and he took one look at the falling rain, and decided he was not coming out. This has then prompted the recent rains we’ve had in the 5 weeks since the end of April. He may not be a groundhog, as I am not sure if any live in Poland. It could however be a Polish eagle or another animal and someone gets to shout “Release Rafał” on May the 1st, in order to continue the tradition. And this year, we’ve had the misfortune of Rafał returning to hide for a few weeks more. I hope next year is different, and that he will predict an early summer!