Most of us know that Groundhog Day is February 2. Most of us also know that this day involves the prediction of more winter or a faster Spring, depending on whether that lovable animal sees his shadow. But do you know why Groundhog Day exists? Get ready to have your mind blown (or more likely, just gain some more useless knowledge to toss around at parties). According to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club (yes, that is a real thing), this is a tradition whereby "...the Groundhog comes out of his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow. If he sees it, he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole. If the day is cloudy and, hence, shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground."
Christians in Europe in the early days celebrated Candlemas Day whereby the custom was to have the clergy bless candles and distribute them to the people. It marked a milestone in the winter and the weather that day was important.
"The Roman legions, during the conquest of the northern country, supposedly brought this tradition to the Teutons, or Germans, who picked it up and concluded that if the sun made an appearance on Candlemas Day, an animal, the hedgehog, would cast a shadow, thus predicting six more weeks of bad weather, which they interpolated as the length of the 'Second Winter.'"
"Since Pennsylvania's earliest settlers were Germans, and they found that there were loads of groundhogs in many parts of the state, they determined that the groundhog, resembling the European hedgehog, was a most intelligent and sensible animal and therefore decided that if the sun did appear on February 2nd, so wise an animal as the groundhog would see its shadow and hurry back into its underground home for another six weeks of winter." (Can't argue with that logic, right?!)
The efforts of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club have carried this tradition on through today and of course, made Puxsutawney Phil a star in his own right. Check out this fun clip from our post last year. And of course, watch the movie whenever you can and revel in its genius.
Fun fact: This is the first year the Super Bowl has fallen on Groundhog Day.
I don't know about you, but with this darn Polar Vortex and these chilling temps, I sure am hoping for a cloudy day February 2.