Chicago’s Groundhog Day, Imbolc, Candlemas Blizzard



Chicago had a blizzard on Groundhog Day, 2011.  That night, for the first time, I witnessed lightning and thunder during a snowstorm.  It was a bizarre experience to actually see flashes of lightning and hear the roar of thunder as the wind howled with blinding snow.  I thought it was very cool!

Chicago’s once only Groundhog Day, Imbolc, Candlemas blizzard had one disappointment.  Chicago’s local Groundhog Day event at our great Brookfield Zoo was canceled.  OMG…to imagine a groundhog would be afraid of snow.  Cowards!
Because of the winter storm, several Chicago-area Groundhog Day events for Wednesday have been canceled.
Brookfield Zoo will close Wednesday for only the second time in its 77-year history.

The significance of Groundhog Day is that it is associated with Candlemas and Imbolc, signifying the point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.  It seems many if not most holidays are associated with the cycle of the earth around the sun.  We are at the point between winter and spring.  Yet we have a blizzard at this very point.  It is ironic to have a historic blizzard on this day, but that is exactly the hope of Groundhog Day…better days are ahead.

Groundhog Day is perhaps the lowliest of celestial holidays.  We have a burrowing mammal as the official mascot of the event.  Why?  Maybe because the days are growing longer, yet we are still waiting for spring, just like the burrowing animal.  We are hibernating, waiting for better days ahead.  It is hard to celebrate that premise.  We wait for the fertility holiday of Easter…bunnies and eggs, and the holiday of Ostara.  Procreation…now that we can celebrate.  Bring on the maypole!  Groundhog Day is about waiting.