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Groundhog Prognostications: “Mountain Maryland Murray” Says More Winter’s Coming Our Way
A look at the history of Groundhog Day – that day when groundhogs pop out of their holes, see or don’t see their shadows, and tell us whether more winter is on the way.
“Mountain Maryland Murray,” our state’s very own weather-prognosticating groundhog, reportedly saw his shadow this morning. According to folklore, that means we’ve got to tolerate six more weeks of winter. But a somewhat-more-famous groundhog, Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil, did NOT see his shadow – meaning that springtime may arrive a little early. Who to believe?
Today on Maryland Morning, we got a look at the traditions behind the Groundhog Day holiday… apparently, the tradition hearkens back to the pagan holidays of the Celtic calendar – and it used to be a BADGER that was the star of the show, not a groundhog.
You can also listen back to last year’s Groundhog Day extravaganza, during which Murray also saw his shadow. Just three days after that shadow sighting, Maryland was hit with the storm that would later be dubbed “Snowmageddon.” In what hopefully will not be a parallel, the National Weather Service says the Baltimore area has a 40 percent chance of getting rain or snow Friday night and a 60 percent chance of getting rain or snow on Saturday.
And in case you’re wondering, the groundhog music played in both segments is Homer & Jethro’s version of “Ground Hog.” The song (which also goes by “The Groundhog,” “Groundhog Hunt,” and probably half a dozen other names) comes the mountains of Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Virginia and was probably written around the turn of the 20th Century, or shortly before. And, as a traditional mountain tune, it’s got about as many different sets of lyrics as it’s had performances…
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