Sunday, 2 February 2014

A Traditional Beaker Imbolc Groundhog Candlemas Day

It's a well-known fact that the Christian Church first chose 2 February as the date for the Presentation of Our Lord, to co-incide with the ancient Beaker ceremony of Groundhog Day. Groundhogs were a special deity for the early Beaker Folk, representing the fertility of the Earth where they lived, and the little gnawy teeth of the Rodents of Retribution who lived in the Beaker Hades. Groundhog Day has been celebrated halfway between Xmas and Easter for at least 4,000 years, and was originally a celebration of the lactation of groundhogs. Why this was anything particularly to be celebrated is anybody's guess, but the Celts, needless to say, got in on the act, stole the date and invented their own festival, "Imbolc" - which in the Brethonic tongue spoken around Dunstable means "Rat Yoghurt". An odd bunch the Celts. What with them not actually having existed, and everything.

The European groundhogs subsequently went extinct in the Ice Age, and it was left to the German colonists of Punxsutawney to reintroduce the festival when they found some fresh groundhogs. These days, the Beaker Women mark the day by wishing the Beaker Men were as charming as Bill Murray.

There being no groundhogs around, as usual today's Groundhog substitute was the ever-reliable Earless Beaker Bunny. As is the tradition, we started trying to get her out of her cage on the Feast of the Epiphany, and finally succeeded last night. In a new record low, she only inflicted three bites that required hospitalisation this year.
The Groundhog

Once put on the grass outside the Moot House, she looked grumpily around, gave us one of her evil stares, "binked" round in a circle - which is the Bunny signal for more rain - and then went back in her box. And so, as the Beaker Quire sang "I Got You, Babe", we concluded that, it being England, we have no idea what the weather's going to be like for the next six weeks.

1 comment :

  1. I thought that Ground Hog day was something to do with putting a pig into the grinding stones in a mill? I really must have words with my history teacher about misleading me :(


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