Voices from Russia

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Great Friday News: Moscow Zoopark Groundhog Wakes Up, Spring Coming Soon! Shall Surok Surokovich Replace Punxsutawney Phil? Ya NEVER Know…

01ac Groundhog Day


The Moscow Zoopark announced on Facebook, “Friends, we have good news. Spring is coming soon. Our groundhog woke up”. Groundhogs come out of hibernation when temperatures start to rise. Hibernation is less like a deep sleep and more like a coma; the groundhog’s heart rate plunges, blood scarcely flows, body temperature drops to a few degrees above freezing, and breathing nearly stops. Towards the end of their hibernation period, groundhogs awaken briefly several times and pop out of their burrows to check the weather. They may or may not go back to sleep depending on how cold or warm the weather is. After they emerge from hibernation, groundhogs live on their remaining body fat for a couple of weeks to bring their digestive organs back to normal and to prepare for the mating season. They disguise entrances to their burrows to protect them from predators. Mating starts after groundhogs put on some weight.

Groundhogs offer their weather predictions not only in Russia. In the tiny Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney, a groundhog weatherman named Punxsutawney Phil made his forecasts since 1887. According to groundhog.org, after the animal appeared in the philosophical comedy film Groundhog Day in 1993, record crowds numbering as many as 30,000 went to the event. With a shadow powerful enough to lift spirits… or dash them… Phil met Pennsylvania governors, appeared on national television talk shows, and on New York City‘s Times Square JumboTron. In 1986, he even travelled to Washington to meet with US President Ronald Reagan. This year, Phil saw his shadow on 2 February, signifying six more weeks of winter.

21 February 2014

Voice of Russia World Service


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Saturday, 2 February 2013

2 February 2013. Sergei Yolkin’s World. So, You’re Really Going to Believe in an Animal!

00 Sergei Yolkin. So, You’re Really Going to Believe in an Animal! 2013

So, You’re Really Going to Believe in an Animal!

Sergei Yolkin



I guess that you can deduce Yolkin’s “take” on Groundhog Day… he doesn’t “believe”. I think that Punxsutawney Phil has to make a house-call in Moscow… oh, yes… the octopus tentacle is a reference to Paul the Octopus (a resident of the Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen in Germany), who “chose” the winners in the 2010 FIFA World Cup matches. Fie on the RIA translator… they distorted Yolkin’s intent, yet again. There’s none of the disdain of the original Russian in their English rendering (changing it into an innocuous wistfulness). They’re namby-pamby… they fuck up Yolkin’s plays on words and make no attempt to carry over the “atmosphere” of the original into the translation. What a buncha maroons…



Today, people believe that some animals have supernatural abilities allowing them the ability to predict the weather or the outcome of a football match, because in an age of modern technology, there’s a lack of the miraculous, and there’s not enough connection with the natural world. Psychologists told RIA-Novosti ahead of Groundhog Day that people are inclined to believe in animal oracles such as Punxsutawney Phil and Paul the Octopus because they bring magic into everyday life.

1 February 2013

Sergei Yolkin




Thursday, 3 February 2011

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

Groundhog Day, Year After Year

Sergei Yolkin



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



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