So apparently Punxsutawney Phil, the world’s most famous groundhog, has predicted six more weeks of winter, but I’ve never understood why we put our faith in this furry little rodent. The National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC reports that the groundhog has been wrong in it’s predictions more than it’s been right.
Groundhog Day stems from an ancient celebration of Candlemas, a point halfway between winter solstice and the spring equinox that was celebrated in the days of early Christians in Europe.
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.
The Roman legions brought this tradition to the Germans during the conquest of the northern country. It was the Germans who picked it up and decided that if the sun made an appearance on Candlemas Day, an animal (the hedgehog), would cast a shadow. They attributed that shadow to an omen of continuing bad weather which they named the “Second Winter.”
Whatever your thoughts are on Groundhog Day, it is a fact that there are six more weeks of winter in the calendar year. Whether they will be filled with snow and ice remains to be seen, but in the meantime there are ways to celebrate the coming of spring and fight any winter blues you may be feeling.
I’ve started a weekly tradition of running to the market on Sunday morning to pick up some fresh flowers. Viewing this as a gift to myself and my apartment, I save a little money in the budget for this floral splurge because I believe in the benefits fresh flowers provide.
Americans spend an average of $20 a year on cut flowers where our European counterparts spend an average of $200 a year. That’s a pretty significant difference and as a result they’re generally living happier, healthier lives.
Researchers have found that “hospital patients who stayed in rooms filled with plants and flowers had significantly fewer intakes of postoperative analgesics, more positive physiological responses evidenced by lower systolic blood pressure and heart rate, lower ratings of pain, anxiety, and fatigue, and more positive feelings and higher satisfaction about their rooms when compared with patients in the control group.”
Benefits of fresh flowers:
- Boost your mood
- Brighten the home
- Help with memory
- Foster creativity
- Create intimate connections
When you bring fresh flowers into your house or apartment, you are inviting part of the outdoors inside. So especially in these cold winter months, investing a small amount into a gift of indoor spring can make a huge impact. It doesn’t have to break the bank either. All the flowers shown were purchased at Trader Joe’s for under $10.
I think American botanist Luther Burbank was on to something in the early 20th century when he said, “Flowers make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food, and medicine to the soul.”