Reader Friday and Groundhog Day: Shadows, Superstitions, and Symbolism

Phil and Chuck Discuss the Weather Forecast

Did your groundhog see his shadow today?

Today is Groundhog Day, the 33rd day of 2024, with 333 days remaining in the year.

The superstition for Groundhog Day is this: If the groundhog sees his shadow on February 2nd, we will have six more weeks of winter. This apparently comes from the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition.

I began looking for other superstitions and symbolism surrounding this humorous day and quickly discovered that the focus was on shadows, a subject rich with superstitions and symbolism, much of which centers around the dark side of human nature and the parts we deem unacceptable.

Groundhog Day, the movie, deals with a related idea, the “groundhog day loop,” which is the experience of realizing we’re stuck and can’t get out of a pattern of repeated behavior and consequences.” (usually negative) (The Guardian)

So, today the subject of our discussion is wide and fuzzy, dark and shady. Take your pick of the questions below, or create your own.

  1. Have you used shadows in your writing? How?
  2. Have you read any books that used shadow superstitions or symbolism effectively?
  3. Any comments on the groundhog day loop?
  4. Do you have any friendly groundhogs who dig holes under your sheds?
  5. Do you wish the subject would go away and come back in six years?