Shubenacadie Sam says: Nova Scotia's first Groundhog Day prediction

Published on February 2, 2017

Sam poses next to the sign in his pen Thursday morning.

©Lynn Curwin/TC Media

SHUBENACADIE, N.S. - Nova Scotia's favourite groundhog Sam came out of his den at the Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park Feb. 2 to meet his fans.

Sam did not see his shadow, which folklore says means Nova Scotia will have an early spring.

When he popped out of his house he was greeted by a crowd of more than 100 people, including many children with whiskers painted on their faces. Although no shadows were seen Sam did make attempts to hide behind evergreen branches and a sign inside his pen.

The rodent who resides at the provincial park is the first North American groundhog to be watched for a prediction.

If he had spotted his shadow, tradition says Nova Scotians could expect six more weeks at winter.

Years ago, in Europe, it was thought that if animals like hedgehogs, badger and bears went out to check the weather and were frightened by their shadow they went back inside for four to six weeks. People believed animals would check the weather around Candlemas Day (Feb. 2), which later became known as Groundhog Day in Canada and the US.


According to an old English song:

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.

According to an old Scotch couplet:

If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
There'll be twa (two) winters in the year.

READ MORE: It's Groundhog Day, a day when many look to rodents to predict the end of winter


©Lynn Curwin/TC Media

Aaron Fotheringham, of Lantz, was one of the people who took children to see Sam. His children, aged seven and 10, have attended the festivities in the past.

"They really enjoy the experience and there are lot of awareness displays," he said. "This is a great event they put on here. I think seeing Sam is the highlight of the week for the children."

The beginning of February is considered midway through winter in central Nova Scotia.  

RELATED: Midway through winter, climatologist predicts warmer February, March in Nova Scotia

Cape Breton’s chief groundhog, Two Rivers Tunnel, is expected to make his prediction later this morning.

Sam didn't see his shadow this year.

©Lynn Curwin/TC Media