Today is Groundhog Day
. Which means very little to me, as I associate the second of February with Candlemas
, still celebrated a lot by French people, and at uni I had lots of French friends. In a way, both celebrations have the same Pagan roots. Both celebrations are supposed to forecast the weeks to come, if winter will be longer and harsher, or not. But well, I don't really do anything special for Groundhog Day. I never even watched Groundhog Day
. And anyway, I do not even associate groundhogs
with winter. I associate them with any season but
winter, in fact. You see, groundhogs come a dime a dozen in the Saguenay region where I come from, and the otherwise urban city of Chicoutimi where I grew up has plenty of them: on my way to and back from school, then cégep (college), I used to see them in the vacant lands and bits of woodland by the road. Every season but winter, as I said. There was even one that ventured on the family backyard. My father set a trap for it, I don't know if it caught the groundhog in the end.
I hope not, as I like groundhogs. I find them kind of cool, not too shy, they keep their distance but never go into hiding if you see them and keep your distance, they'll just stare at you. Québec, we call them "marmottes
" or the more Quebecker term of "siffleux
", which means "whistlers," because they look like they whistle, the way their mouth open to show their front teeth sometimes. I don't think they have any kind of voice. I understand they are supposed to be aggressive animals, but I never experienced it and groundhogs are among the rodents that I actually like.