Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

What’s Shakin’ at the Yekaterinburg Zoopark? Pugovka the Hedgehog Predicts an Early Spring, That’s What!

00 Pugovka the Hedgehog. Groundhog Day. Russia. Yekaterinburg Zoo. 03.02.15

She chose “sunny” for an early spring! That’s what’s shakin’ at the Yekaterinburg Zoopark…

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On Monday, Pugovka, a long-eared Russian hedgehog at the Yekaterinburg Zoopark, promised the people of the Urals an early spring, in a local event rivalling the American holiday Groundhog Day. Handlers placed Pugovka, the Russian diminutive for “button” or “buttonette” on a mat before two separate sets of plates with her favourite delicacies, including curds, carrots, and ground meat, with the phrases “early spring”, “late spring”, “sunny”, and “cloudy”. Unable to make up her mind at first, Pugovka eventually chose “early spring”. Then, hesitating a bit between “’sunny” and “cloudy”, she ended up at “sunny”, signalling an early and sunny spring. This is Pugovka’s fourth year serving as prognosticator. A Yekaterinburg Zoopark statement noted, “This event is similar to the overseas Groundhog Day and the ancient Roman Hedgehog Day, where the animals make predictions regarding the coming spring. However, our zoopark doesn’t have a groundhog, so our long-eared hedgehog Pugovka got the job. This year, she continued her responsibility… to determine what kind of weather awaits us when spring begins”.

German immigrants brought customs to the USA that became the famous American holiday Groundhog Day, popularised around the world by the 1993 film of the same name. According to the American tradition, if Punxsutawney Phil leaves his burrow and doesn’t see his shadow, his country will have an early spring. This year, Phil emerged from his burrow atop Gobbler’s Knob in Pennsylvania and saw his shadow, forecasting six more weeks of winter for North America. In recent years, some Russian cities decided to celebrate the holiday themselves, but using hedgehogs instead of groundhogs. The groundhogs used in America, the Marmota monax, only range in North America; in Russia, the hedgehog is a widespread woodland animal, having much forest and cultural lore. North American groundhogs in Russian zooparks usually sleep through the 2 February holiday, given the longer Russian winters.

2 February 2015

Sputnik International

http://sputniknews.com/art_living/20150202/1017660774.html

Thursday, 3 February 2011

3 February 2011. Sergei Yolkin’s World: Groundhog Day, Year After Year

Groundhog Day, Year After Year

Sergei Yolkin

2011

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Groundhog Day, which became widely known in Russia because of the eponymous film starring Bill Murray, is traditionally celebrated in the USA on 2 February. According to legend, on this day you need to carefully watch the groundhog when he gets out of his hole, to find out when spring comes. If the groundhog sees his shadow … that is, if the day’s sunny… the groundhog scurries back to his burrow and hides; winter will last another six weeks. If the animal doesn’t see his shadow… that is, it’s an overcast day… spring will be early. This tradition dates back to old German superstitions. However, the original prognosticator wasn’t a groundhog, it was a badger, and the animal was watched in March, not February. German immigrants brought the custom to the USA. Nowadays, there are groundhog-meteorologists in Canada, too.

2 February 2011

Sergei Yolkin

RIA-Novosti

http://eco.ria.ru/ecocartoon/20110202/329422710.html

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