Groundhog Day was February 2, and Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, meaning six more long weeks of winter. This tradition began in 1887, tracing back to a Christian tradition of Candlemas Day. On this day, the amount of time the candle burne
d would represent how long winter was after the clergy blesses and handed out the candles. This was done through a feast in remembrance of Jesus at a holy temple of Jerusalem.
Furthermore, the Germans chose a hedgehog to predict their winter. After settling in Pennsylvania, the Germans then chose a groundhog for the prediction, which continues today. In celebration, the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club hosts a three day fest with activities and fun in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The people who present him, the “Inner Circle,” wear hats and speak Pennsylvanian Dutch, otherwise known as Groundhogese.
February 2 is significant because it falls between the winter solstice and spring equinox. Celts celebrated this day as Imbolc, a fest by pagans to start the spring.
Other countries have their own animal predicting the weather, such as Birmingham Bill, Staten Island Chuck, and Shubenacadie Sam in Canada.
However, the last thirty years, onlookers in Vermillion, Ohio have turned to a Wooly Bear Caterpillar for the weather forecast. If the caterpillar has more orange on it’s body, there will be a mild winter. Since 1972, 100,000 people have attended the fest.
Info from History.com and This Day In History
Feature Image from PoetrySync