ua en ru

Groundhog Day 2024: Ukrainian Tymko shares his forecast for spring

Groundhog Day 2024: Ukrainian Tymko shares his forecast for spring Kharkiv groundhog Tymko III shares his forecast for spring (collage by RBC-Ukraine)

Tymko III, the chief groundhog meteorologist of the Kharkiv region, has given his forecast for the upcoming spring. The fluffy weather forecaster predicted that spring will arrive in just six weeks.

At the biological station of the V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University in the village of Haidary, Chuhuiv district, Groundhog Day has been celebrated for the twentieth time - rodents have been predicting the weather since 2004. Over the years, three groundhogs have played the role of weather forecasters: Tymko, Tymko II, and since 2018, Tymko III.

On February 2, the animal is taken out of its burrow and asked when to expect spring. If the day is cloudy, and the groundhog does not see its shadow, it means that spring will be early. If the sun is shining, and the rodent sees its shadow, winter will last at least another six weeks, until mid-March.

Tymko III spent over half a year in occupation in the village of Nesterivka in the Kupiansk district, and in September 2022, the settlement was liberated.

Origin of the holiday

The origins of Groundhog Day can be traced back to Celtic traditions, where four days between solstices and equinoxes were significant. Imbolc, a Celtic celebration on February 1, marks the seasonal turning point and involves weather prognostication.

Groundhog Day 2024: Ukrainian Tymko shares his forecast for spring

Hedgehogs were replaced by groundhogs in the tradition of forecasting the spring coming (Photo: pixabay)

Also, this tradition bears resemblance to the medieval Catholic holiday of Candlemas, celebrated at the mid-point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Early Christians in Europe associated Candlemas with blessing and distributing candles. They believed that clear skies on Candlemas Day indicated a longer winter, while a cloudy day forecasted the end of winter.

The Germans enhanced this practice by employing an animal, initially the hedgehog, for weather predictions. German immigrants, upon settling in Pennsylvania, U.S., in the XVIII century, maintained the tradition but substituted hedgehogs with groundhogs.

Groundhog Day celebration still lives and is incredibly popular around the world, especially in the U.S. and Canada.

Groundhog Day 2024: Ukrainian Tymko shares his forecast for springPunxsutawney Phil makes his prediction in Gobbler’s Knob, Pennsylvania, 2024 (Photo: Getty Images)

It's worth noting that the forecasts of two 'meteorologists' this year differ - the American counterpart of the Ukrainian Tymko III, Punxsutawney Phil, predicts that the spring of 2024 will come early.