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Folklore, history, the story of Groundhog Day

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the story of Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day has a very long history.  The traditions associated with Groundhog Day are really quite odd but have a long and celebrated history and, interestingly this ancient day has its roots in astronomy.  So let’s put aside our social media, video games and even our Fair Go Casino online login for a few moments and learn “all there is to know” about Groundhog Day.

What and when is Groundhog Day?

February 2nd is the day when Groundhog Day is celebrated in America.   Even though this holiday is known to go back many hundreds of years, perhaps even longer, and is rooted in European traditions, the modern version of the holiday is very distinctly American in its traditions.  One of the most well-known traditions is relying on a groundhog to predict the end of the winter by seeing his own shadow.

Basically, according to folklore there are two possibilities:

The groundhog sees his shadow:  If the groundhog surfaces from his hole in the ground on a clear day and sees his shadow he will return to his home in the ground and stay there a further six weeks of winter.

The groundhog doesn’t see his shadow: If the groundhog surfaces from his home and is not able to see his shadow this is interpreted to mean that spring is imminent.

Many people are not aware of the fact that Groundhog Day has its roots in astronomy and the way in which the earth moves around the sun.   Many people say that this day in February in the Northern Hemisphere represents the midpoint between winter – December, and spring – March.

The most famous Groundhog of all – Punxsutawney Phil

The most celebrated of all groundhogs is Phil from western Pennsylvania. But there are other celebrity groundhogs, for instance the well-known one in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.   But the one in Pennsylvania is by far the most famous.  This groundhog is termed “Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather-Prophet Extraordinary.” At the same time as making this pronouncement in 1887 the ‘Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’ announced that Punxsutawney was now also to be considered the weather capital of the world.

Each year, on the 2nd February those who are eager to “follow Phil” begin arriving from 6 in the morning to join the livestream presented by “Visit Pennsylvania. This has been going for a number of years which enables more people to observe the groundhog meteorologist.

It seems that Punxsutawney Phil has actually been correct 40% of the time in predicting the onset of Spring.  This is according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).   Well, it seems not to be that reliable! However, it is all a bit of fun. According to those natives of Punxsutawney “it’s a day to take everything a little less seriously, and break up the winter monotony, at least for a little while.”

Groundhog Day has a long history

Groundhog Day was originally a Celtic festival.  It marked the year’s midpoint between the two seasons, winter and spring and was celebrated in February.   It was named Imbolc, an old Irish term, meaning “in the belly”.  This referred to the expected arrival of lambs with the coming of spring.  This celebration meant that the sun had reached its halfway point on its journey towards the spring equinox and a season of new birth and light was soon to arrive.

The day is also often known as St. Brigid’s Day, which is based on a combination of different Christian and pagan traditions and beliefs. The goddess Brigantia in the Celtic tradition is connected to dawn, light and spring.  These qualities are also later associated the Christian saint, Brigid of Kildare who is one of Ireland’s patron saints.

Christian festival of Candlemas

Festival of lights, Candlemas, is also celebrated on 2nd February.  It represents the candles that are lit in churches on that day celebrating Christ in Jerusalem.

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

Groundhog Day is rich in history and founded on meaningful ideas.  It represents the victory of spring over winter, birth over death, light over darkness. Candles are light and light is associated with spirituality and the presence of a holy presence.

Why the choice of a Groundhog?

How did the Groundhog get to play the part in this ancient tradition?  In actual fact historically the people of France and England chose a bear to be the bearer of the forecast and in Germany it was the badger. But the Germans arriving in Pennsylvania in the 1800s brought with them the Candlemas legends.  There were no badgers to be found but plenty of groundhogs, so groundhogs became the subject of the folklore.

Now the folklore has developed into a fabulous winter festival, with Punxsutawney Phil presiding as well as many others in many other states.

Groundhog and the weather connection

One of the main points of the celebrations was the forecasting of an early spring or a prolonged winter. If the sun shone on Candlemas it was said to mean the return of winter.  And “When the wind is in the east on Candlemas Day, there it will stick till the 2nd of May.”

So, it was not a good sign if the day if the sun was shining as this meant that winter, snow and frost would continue for another 6 weeks until Lady Day.

Groundhog today is not quite as it was in days gone by.   Animal behavior is definitely an indication of weather forecasts and deciding when planting dates should occur.  The traditions continue but a lot of humor is part and parcel of the day.

And in a rather non-helpful (but possibly, wise) way, The Old Farmer’s Almanac says “If the groundhog sees his shadow, we’ll have six more weeks of winter; if he doesn’t, it’ll be six weeks until spring.”

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Is it cheaper to keep the AC on all day?

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Is it cheaper to keep the AC on all day

As the weather warms up people are once again looking at their current air conditioning units and what will be the most cost-effective way to use them. The simple truth is there will be times when you can’t survive without it. But, that doesn’t mean it should cost you a fortune to run.

Start With A Service

Whether you run your air conditioner all day non-stop or just turn it on and off when you need it, it will be more efficient and use less energy if you have it serviced. Now is the time to contact the experts in commercial air conditioning and have your unit serviced; If it’s old, you may even want to consider replacing it. The cost of replacement can be offset by the energy savings within a few years.

Whatever you decide, a service is essential to ensure it is working to peak efficiency.

Top Tip: When running air conditioners keep the windows and doors closed. If you don’t it won’t cool the house properly.

Leaving It On All Day

Some people feel that it is better to leave the AC on throughout the day, ensuring the house is always at the correct temperature.

However, the simple answer to the question ‘is it cheaper to keep the AC on all day?’ is no.

Leaving it on all day means the air conditioner will stay on until the right temperature is reached. It will then turn on and off by itself to maintain that temperature.

What counts is how much it is on and how much power it uses during that time. For most people, it will run for more hours when turning itself on and off than it will if you turn it on when you need it.

Of course, this is relevant if you are out all day at work. If you are part-time or work from home then you’ll be better off leaving the air conditioner on as it will be under less stress and last longer.

The Smart Solution

Naturally, leaving it off when you’re out means coming back to a hot house or apartment. Thankfully, this no longer needs to be the case. You can install a smart system in your home and connect your air conditioner to it.

This will allow you to connect to your home while you’re at work or out elsewhere and turn the system on remotely. All you have to do is work out how long it takes to cool the house and turn it on that much time before you get home.

This approach means your air conditioner will be on less and save you money.

Additional Tip

It’s worth noting that you can save additional energy by turning your air conditioner thermostat up a degree or two. You probably won’t notice the difference when you get home but you will see a difference in your energy bill. It’s a simple but effective solution to help lower your energy bills.

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How Are Doonas, Duvets and Quilts Different?

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How Are Doonas

It can sometimes be challenging to buy bedding. Choosing the right one can be difficult when so many names, sizes, and options exist.

A basic understanding of bedding terminology will significantly assist you in buying and enables you to purchase the most suitable item for your requirements.

Generally, all of these terms refer to the same thing. Duvets, doonas, and quilts are inserts that fit inside a cover.

A quilt is probably the most common name for insert, although, in many countries, quilts are called coverlets/bedspreads and insert refers to a comforter.

In Australia, the term doona is commonly used for a quilted insert that places inside a cover and forms your bed’s top layer. The filling is usually feathers or artificial materials.

Duvet is another word for an insert, like a quilt or doona. Most people use the term duvet in the United States and Europe for comforters.

If you are shopping for an insert for your doona cover, it is all the same thing in Australia. But, there are a few other points to remember when choosing the suitable quilt or doona for you.

Do doonas come in various types?

Various types of doonas/quilts are available, but there are three key factors to consider before buying one for your bed.

  • Fill
  • Weight
  • Size

What kind of fill is best for doonas?

You can choose from various fillings for the doona/quilt, and you will experience a different feel with each one.

Cotton is perhaps the coolest among the many fills available due to its lightweight nature. It lets air pass through without being trapped, making you feel calmer. For summer, cotton is a good choice.

Feathers and down quilts are popular among Australians and available in both winter and summer styles. The higher feather proportions will result in a cooler quilt.

Microfibre tends to be warmer than other fabrics. The quilt with microfibre filling is breathable but less than cotton. It retains more heat, thereby helping you stay warm.

Polyester is an excellent filling in most quilts appropriate for all seasons.

Wool quilts are usually the warmest. Bulky and massive, these quilts are ideal when it’s cold outside, and you have to layer up!

What is the best weight for my doona?

It’s not difficult to pick the correct weight if you understand what you need. Quilts usually have a GSM number, which you can use to calculate their weight. As a measurement, GSM stands for grams per square meter, which indicates how much a quilt weighs.

In most cases, the weight of a doona only matters when the seasons change. Therefore, the GSM we recommend for those seasons is listed below.

Quilt for Summer

150 – 350 GSM

Light quilts

Quilt for winter

450+ GSM

Heavyweight quilts

Quilt for all seasons

200 – 400 GSM

Doonas fit my bed size

Finally, size is an essential factor to consider when purchasing a quilt. Make sure you have a doona that fits your mattress. Having a too-small quilt is inconvenient since you will always struggle with your partner to stay warm. In addition, an overly large one could be cumbersome and create a hazard as it will rest on the floor and your bed.

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4 Essential Features To Look For In a Tactical Belt

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Features To Look For In a Tactical Belt

When you’re working in law enforcement, security, or any other job that involves heavy physical activity, you need a lot of accessories to keep you going.

One of the most important accessories is your tactical belt. You’ll be wearing it a lot, and it needs to be comfortable and safe.

A good tactical belt has many functions: It can securely hold hidden weapons and other tools while providing easy access at all times. But finding the right one can be challenging since there are so many options available out there.

Here are some essential features to look for when shopping for a tactical Groove belt:

1. Good Quality Material

The first thing you should look for in a tactical belt is its material, especially since it determines its durability and longevity. Additionally, a strong material is essential because you’ll be carrying a lot of heavy gear on your belt. If a belt is made from a weak material, it just won’t be able to hold all of your gear.

That said, some of the best materials are leather and nylon. Nylon is a great choice because it is lightweight and will allow you to adjust the belt as you grow. Leather, on the other hand, will last you a long time and can stand up to a lot of wear and tear.

While leather is a great material, you have to make sure it’s made with quality stitching, so it doesn’t fall apart and that it’s genuine leather, not synthetic leather. Synthetic leather isn’t nearly as durable as genuine leather, plus you’ll need to treat it regularly with a special product to avoid it from cracking and drying out.

2. Adjustable Length And Width

Since you’ll likely be wearing your tactical belt while doing lots of physical activities, you need one that’s adjustable.

Look for a belt that can be easily tightened and loosened as needed, with no need to have a special tool for that. You should also get one that has an adjustable width so that it can easily be adjusted to fit your growing waist size as you gain or lose weight.

Not every tactical belt will be adjustable, so it’s important to look for a belt that can fit your waist. Otherwise, the belt will just fall off every time you bend over.

3. Easy To Use and Comfortable To Wear

The best tactical belts will be easy to use and wear. They shouldn’t be stiff and bulky but rather flexible and comfortable. Tactical belts come in many different styles, so you’ll definitely find one that is comfortable for you.

The best tactical belts will also have a sturdy buckle and a thick strap. A thick strap is ideal since it will distribute the weight better and won’t dig into your skin. Some tactical belts come with a hook and loop system to hold them together. If you get a belt with this system, you’ll be able to cinch your belt down for a secure fit.

4. Hidden Compartments

If you need to carry lots of gear with you, a groove belt with hidden compartments is a great choice. A belt with compartments can hold your everyday items like your phone, keys, and tactical tools.

There are many tactical belts that come with hidden compartments, from the common zipper compartments to the more innovative magnetic compartments.

Zipper compartments are great for small items, like your keys or wallet, while magnetic compartments can hold larger items, like a handgun. There are also some belts that have sleeves sewn inside them, which are perfect for storing your handgun.

Just make sure that your belt has adequate stitching to hold the weight of your gear, so that it doesn’t come apart.

Summing It Up

A good tactical groove belt is essential for any law enforcement agent and security personnel. While these belts aren’t designed just for this line of work, they are excellent choices for anyone who needs something durable and reliable.

When looking for a new belt, remember to choose one with a sturdy construction, a good length and width adjustment system, and a soft, comfortable lining. It should also have easy-to-use buckles and hidden compartments for storing your everyday items, like your keys or phone, as well as your tactical tools.

Consider these factors and you’ll surely find the right belt for your needs.

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