It’s official, folks! And by ‘official’, we mean ‘decided by a man in a groundhog suit’. Balzac Billy, the Alberta groundhog who each year predicts whether or not we will have an early spring, saw his shadow today and announced six more weeks of winter. Pain.
The tradition of Groundhog Day started way back in the late 1800s and is based on the Pennsylvanian Dutch superstition that if a groundhog sees its shadow on February 2nd due to clear weather, winter will continue for six more weeks. If the woodchuck doesn’t see its shadow, spring will come early.
This is your annual reminder that Balzac Billy is actually just a dude in a gopher suit. https://t.co/truBum2ocP
— Scott Seymour (@Seymour_from_GP) February 2, 2022
What the tradition may not have accounted for was just how far this day of pageantry would go. See, Alberta’s groundhog, Balzac Billy, is more mascot than anything. In fact, it’s a man dressed in a groundhog costume who also goes by the moniker ‘the Prairie Prognosticator’.
Balzac Billy, is the “Prairie Prognosticator”, in Alberta, a man-sized groundhog mascot. The real groundhogs are still hibernating! -31 in central Alberta today! Happy #GroundHogDay2022 and hoping for an early #spring! #weather #cold pic.twitter.com/VIXFaIwtwb
— 7 Jars of Hot Pickled Peppers (@7Jars) February 2, 2022
So, whether or not you want to take the half-hog half-man’s meteorological predictions as gospel is up to you.
Alberta has seen a relatively mild winter, with Vancouver even beating Calgary in terms of snowfall thus far. If Balzac Billy is right, that might just change.