The history of Groundhog Day

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Groundhog Day was Sat., Feb 2., and the results from Punxsutawney Phil, the beloved groundhog, had everyone on the edge of their seats. He saw no shadow and that told us we can look forward to an early spring. Yay! But why do we rely on a groundhog to tell us what we can expect about the upcoming seasons?

The first Groundhog Day was Feb. 2, 1887, in Punxsutawney, Penn. The strange holiday has roots from an old Christian holiday where a candle would be lit on Feb. 2 and it would tell how long the winter would be. A similar tradition was created by the Germans. However, the Germans were the ones who started to use small animals in their predictions, like hedgehogs and badgers. When Germans settled in America, they brought this tradition along with them.

Punxsutawney Phil’s ancestry goes back, too! He is a descendant of the most famous groundhog in America. A groundhog hunting group in 1887, the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, declared that the groundhog, Phil, was the the only reliable weather predicting groundhog. Since then, Phil’s family contains the most famous groundhogs in America. Or, if you believe legend, there has only been one Punxsutawney Phil and he has lived over 125 years due to the magical punch he drinks every summer.

Every year in Punxsutawney, there is a festival held, and thousands of people go to see what Phil will predict about the upcoming months. Punxsutawney Phil is reported to have around a 40 percent success rate at accurately predicting the seasons.

Enjoy the rest of this year’s winter, because according to Phil, there won’t be much more to look forward to! And feel free to share the fascinating story about our furry meteorologist friend with anyone who may be curious.