The History Behind Groundhog Day

groundhog day

Like many traditions, Groundhog Day came from a completely different tradition. Traditionally it started as Candlemas Day. On February 2nd, people would go to church for the priest to bless their candles. They hoped this would bring blessings for the rest of winter. In some places, the priest blessed candles and passed them out to parishioners. Eventually, this tradition made it to Germany.

Germany added an animal to the tradition, the hedgehog. On Candlemas Day, they would watch a hedgehog emerge, and if it saw its shadow, then there would be six more weeks of winter. If it saw no shadow then winter was basically over.

Over time, Germans immigrated to the United States and settled mostly in Pennsylvania. They continued the tradition of looking an animal for weather prediction. This time they chose the groundhog, as groundhog were easy to find.

Official Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day officially started February 2, 1886, with an announcement in a local paper. After that, a club started the yearly trek up the hill to ask the groundhog named Phil to predict the weather. Many people come from all over to celebrate, especially after the 1993 movie named “Groundhog Day”. The town of Punxsutawney holds a three-day festival celebrating groundhog day.

With all the attention you would think that potentially the groundhog does predict the weather. Sadly, the groundhog is right only about 40 percent of the time. Still, it is a silly holiday to celebrate and we all love a celebration.

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