Wednesday, February 1, 2012

This Day in History February 2, 1887

I actually forgot about Groundhog Day, and it just so happens that on this date in 1887, the first Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Philadelphia in Gobbler's Knob.  "Phil" became the one and only groundhog that could predict the weather.  According to tradition, if Phil sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter, and if he does not, spring will come early.

I did not know that the tradition of Groundhog Day goes back to an old-time Christian feast day (Candlemas Day).  Groundhog Day also falls between the winter solstice and the spring equinox--cross-quarter day.  Candles determined the length of winter.  Germans took the concept and expanded it to mean that hedgehogs (groundhogs) predicted the weather.  It had to do with hibernation.

There is much more that could be said, but if you are interested, you can check out the links:

I have to admit that I have never put much stock in groundhog day.  I remember that it was kind of a big deal in elementary school, but other than that, I really don't care much.  No groundhog is going to determine the weather for me!


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