Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Happy Groundhog Day!

What exactly is Groundhog Day? Groundhog Day, February 2nd, is a popular tradition in the United States. According to folklore, the groundhog comes out from his home, after a long winter of hibernating below ground, to look for his shadow. If he sees it, he regards it as a warning of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole. If the day is cloudy and he does not see his shadow he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.

Where did this tradition come from? An ancient Christian tradition called Candlemas Day was celebrated with the passing out of candles whose sizes, and thus burning hours, signified how long the winter would be. Upon arriving in Pennsylvania, a group of German settlers continued the tradition using groundhogs as their instruments to predict the weather.

Today, in the early hours of February 2, 2016, Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania celebrated the 130th anniversary of their town's first Groundhog Day. Punxsutawney Phil, the appropriately named groundhog used in the annual ceremony, emerged from his shelter, did not see his shadow, and the ceremony emcee boldly proclaimed, “There is no shadow to be cast! An early spring is my forecast!”

For more information about the celebration of Groundhog Day including its history and significance, please see the following.

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