HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY

2 Feb

 

Today is groundhog day and early this morning Punxsutawney Phil was the center of attention.  In an early morning ceremony today, Punxsutawney Phil rose from the ground in Gobbler’s Knob, PA, and signaled to his handlers that he saw no shadow today and accordingly foretold an early end to winter. 

YA…. Welcome to an early Spring. 

Do you ever wonder how the Groundhog tradition was started?

According to a few Groundhog Day sites, the day started as Candlemans Day, originally a Medieval Catholic holiday to mark the mid-point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere.  The German settlers of Pennsylvania put candles in their windows and believed that if the weather was fair on Candlemas Day, then the second half of winter would be stormy and cold.  They believed that cloudy weather is more mild than clear and cold weather.

German settlers arrived in the 1700s in the area of Pennsylvania, northeast of Pittsburgh.  Ancient times stated that a hibernating animal could predict the coming weather by its emergence from its hole or cave.  The Pennsylvania Dutch settlers used a badger as a weather predictor instead of the groundhog.  If the badger would see its shadow it would hurry back into the ground for six more weeks.  They predicted six more weeks of bad weather which they would consider it as the second winter.   The first official Groundhog Day celebration was in 1886. 

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This ceremony has gone on for over the 125 years and Phil has seen his shadow 98 times and not seen it only 16 times, counting today. (Records don’t exist for every year.)  The National climatic Data Center reportedly stated the Phil’s prediction’s have only been correct 39 percent of the time……Let’s hope he is correct this year!

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