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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Ground Day and Sechseläuten

A meme came by on my Facebook feed that made me smile. I have a few friends that pass around funny ones and was about to share this particular one when I realized that there was no point.  You see, it was about Groundhog Day.  Yeah, every Canadian (and American) knows what I am talking about here.  It is one of those things that we do not really, truly embrace as fact – but rather as some sort of assurance that indeed winter was coming to a close.

Each year Groundhog Day falls on February 2nd.  How it works is someone sets up a camera outside of a groundhog hole.  If it happens to be cloudy when  he exits his underground home for the day then spring will come early. If it it is sunny, the groundhog allegedly with see his shadow and retreat back into the ground then we all have to suffer through another for six more weeks of winter.

Ironically, this whole Groundhog thing was started by German immigrants in Pennsylvania.  At least that is the best that I can find. Anyway, my point is that not one over here would really appreciate that meme.  

And then I thought of Sechseläuten.  I experienced it for the first time last year.  This is an event that happens exclusively in the Canton of Zurich.  It takes place on the "must take" route to my home so I am a participant whether I want to be or not.  A big deal, the results of this event make news headlines all over the country.  You see, depending on how quickly the giant snowman (filled with explosives) burns is a direct indicator of how long summer will be in Switzerland.  The burning takes place usually on the third Monday of April, normally following Ash Wednesday.

Although both different, the wishful thinking that lay behind for warmer weather is similar. I get them both.  Fun, and a wonderful conversation piece they are however not conversations that easily work continent to continent.  I cannot imagine explaining to my colleagues about the groundhog. They would think Canadians are already a bit more strange than what they already do.  And to explain to a Canadian about a firework filled snowman  - well, they would think I was a bit strange too.

So, after all of that – I decided to keep the groundhog meme to myself.  

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