Groundhog Day has, once again, come and gone. Fortunately for most of us, there was no unexpected and Bill-Murray-esque time loop—but your energy bill may have you feeling like it’s stuck in one. Are your energy rates just keep getting higher and higher every winter? Are you ready to kidnap whatever groundhog takes away your hopes of an early end to the seemingly never-ending winter? There may be a solution that doesn’t involve groundhog-napping! Have you looked for cheaper energy rates from your energy provider?
What did the groundhogs say this year?
Punxsutawney Phil, hailing from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, is probably the most famous groundhog—at least in terms of weather prognostication. However, there are a number of furry prognosticators across North America. While Phil has forecasted a long winter, the consensus across Canada isn’t quite so clear. Wiarton Willie, the albino groundhog from Wiarton, Ontario, and Winnipeg Wyn, Manitoba’s whistle pig, both saw their shadows, supporting Phil’s views that there will be no quick end to this winter. However, Alberta’s Balzac Billy, Fred la Marmotte from Val d’Espoir, Québec, and Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam were all shadow-free this Groundhog Day. But what does this mixed prognostication suggest for the end of winter—and for our ability to attain cheap energy rates sooner rather than later this year?
First of all, it’s important to note that the groundhogs aren’t exactly known for their meteorological accuracy. In fact, a meteorological study has shown a fairly even split between cloudy and sunny days on February 2 over the past 30-40 years, and during that time, the groundhogs were only accurate with their predictions about 37 per cent of the time (there was no word on whether any of the celebrities has better statistical accuracy than his fellows). Any meteorologist who had statistics like that would very likely not have a career in weather forecasting anymore, and yet every year, across North America hundreds of people celebrate the tradition of Groundhog Day, some even with festival activities to commemorate the occasion. In fact, groundhog watching dates back to 1887 in Punxsutawney, and Wiarton Willie has been predicting weather on the Bruce Peninsula since 1956. So what is it that draws people out into the cold to see their local groundhog at the start of each February? Is it cheap energy rate anxiety or something else?
The tradition actually connects back to a pagan celebration
Groundhog Day actually coincides with the pagan tradition of Imbolic and the Christian Candlemas, which means roots of the tradition descend well back to the 1700s. Essentially, both traditions coincide with the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, and both surround the superstition that fair weather on February 2 means stormy, cold weather for the second half of the winter. Sound familiar? Many fishing traditions follow the same sort of superstition (red sky at morning vs. red sky at night). Now cue the groundhog. The earliest record of groundhog prognostication appear in February of 1841, when James Morris, from Morgantown, Berks County (Pennsylvania), wrote: “Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate.” Groundhogs actually begin to stir around this time of year to get a head start on the mating season; but however coincidental it may be, the tradition had been born: February 2, groundhogs, sunshine and shadows, and weather prognostication.
But what does this have to do with cheap energy rates?
Part of the tradition of Groundhog Day also involves the hopeful trepidation and often frustrated disappointment when the predictions are made; however, there are ways to make the possibility of a longer winter a little easier to swallow. Finding cheaper energy rates by comparing energy providers is an important start. Don’t get caught in the endless loop of high winter energy rates; get yourself set up for cheaper rates so you can get back to enjoying the traditions and festivities that surround Groundhog Day once again. After all, the possibility of having to relive the same day of the year over and over again is a lot less scary when your energy rates aren’t making it the most expensive day possible.