Groundhog Day is February 2, 2016. What is Groundhog Day? Where did the celebration come from? Here are some Groundhog Day Facts…
The holiday came from a German tradition called Candlemas Day which was a day between winter solstice and spring equinox. On this day, if the sun came out, there would be 6 more weeks of winter.
The first Groundhog Day was held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on February 2, 1887. The German immigrants that were now living in Pennsylvania were not unfamiliar with using animals as weather predictors (although badgers and bears had been their animal of preference in the past).
- The first groundhog was eaten after his prediction. The tradition began with a sign from the rodent followed by a feast which included menu items containing groundhog. Once Groundhog Day became famous, the items containing the animal were removed from the feast.
- Punxsutawney Phil does not live in his own crafted burrow as do other groundhogs. He lives in a climate-controlled, man-made burrow.
- While Phil is the most well known groundhog, there are others across the nation that are brought out for their weather predictions.
- Punxsutawney Phil’s accuracy is only 30-40% which doesn’t make him very credible. This superstition is more of a morale booster for those that are enduring a harsh winter.
- While it is common for groundhogs to come out of their burrows this time of year, it really has nothing to do with predicting the weather. This is their mating season, so the males will come out of their holes, find the females, and then both go back underground.
In reality, no groundhog has the ability to predict the weather. It’s all a fun tradition started over 120 years ago, but the little fella can sometimes shed some hope that the extreme winter weather will soon be moving out making way for warm, sunny days. Let’s all hope that Phil gives us a good (and accurate) prediction of an early spring this year!