Odessa Zoo’s specialists decided not to wake up the local «synoptic» on the Groundhog Day

Odessa Zoo’s pet, Vatrushka groundhog, ignored the annual ritual of weather forecasting due to his sleep.

Groundhog Day is a day celebrated on February 2. According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring will come early; if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter weather will continue for six more weeks.
Modern customs of the holiday involve celebrations where early morning festivals are held to watch the groundhog emerging from its burrow.

The celebration, which began as a Pennsylvania German custom in southeastern and central Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries, has its origins in ancient European weather lore, wherein a badger or sacred bear is the prognosticator as opposed to a groundhog. It also bears similarities to the Pagan festival of Imbolc, the seasonal turning point of the Celtic calendar, which is celebrated on February 1 and also involves weather prognostication and to St. Swithun's Day in July.

This tradition is a novelty for Ukraine, and it became popular after the world famous “Groundhog Day” movie by Harold Ramis.

“Our mai synoptic, Vatrushka (Cheesecake) groundhog is sleeping right now, and we’ve decided not to wake him up, in order to keep his biological rhythms in check. At a max, we could make a forecast basing on whether our groundhog is sleeping peacefully or is squirming in its den”, emphasized Odessa Zoo Science and Strategic Development Director Igor Byelyakov.

Odessa’s groundhog is 3 years old. At the time being, he is single, but the Zoo’s specialists are actively searching for a spouse for him, and a female groundhog from Vinnitsa might join him soon. In general, the groundhogs live for about 15 years, therefore Vatrushka has yet to develop his weather forecasting talents.

Adapted from: Official site of Odessa city