Groundhog Day History
Groundhog Day 2020 is coming up this weekend. Every year this tradition is held on February 2nd. But how did the tradition start with a groundhog predicting if there will be an early spring or 6 more weeks of winter?
According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, this tradition comes from a Christian celebration known as Candlemas Day. Candlemas Day marks the midway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. During Candlemas Day, clergy would bless candles and hand them out. The myth was if the day was sunny and clear people could expect a longer rough winter. If the sky was cloudy, warm weather would arrive soon. Germans decided to change the this tradition and used a hedgehog. The Germans believed that if the sun came out and the hedgehog seen his shadow there would be a second winter.
This tradition changed as Germans immigrated to the U.S. Many early settlers in Pennsylvania were German settlers. The Germans switched from hedgehogs to groundhogs because it was easier to find groundhogs in Pennsylvania, groundhogs are native to Pennsylvania. In 1886 the Punxsutawney Spirit printed the first news Groundhog Day here in the U.S. The following year, 1887, the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club gathered for the first time at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The editor at Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper declared that Phil would be America’s official weather forecasting groundhog. Since then the tradition became very popular and is celebrated in different cities all around the U.S.
Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania is still the most popular city where thousands of people gather every year to see if Phil will see his shadow or not. 2020 will be 134 years that Phil has been predicting whether there is a early spring or 6 more weeks of winter. From 1887 to 2019, Phil has seen his shadow 104 times and not seen his shadow 19 times.
Here is the official link to Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s website.
Hopefully Phil predicts an early spring and he is right this year!
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