NATIONAL GROUNDHOG DAY
Will he see his shadow or will he not? That is the question!
Groundhog Day is observed on February 2nd, each year in the United States and Canada. For a nice welcomed break during the winter, on this day the groundhog awakens from his nap and goes outside to see if he can see his shadow. It is believed by many that if the groundhog sees his shadow that there will then be six more weeks of winter. If this is so, he then retrieves back into his den and goes back to sleep. If he is not able to see his shadow, the groundhog remains outside to play and people celebrate believing that spring is just around the corner.
The tradition of predicting the length of the remaining winter is intertwined with the Christian holiday, Candlemas. Clergy would bless candles symbolizing the ‘light of the world’ to give to their congregations. Another tradition associated with this day is eating crepes. Germans practiced the art of predicting the winter with a hedgehog until their arrival in the United States when they settled in the hills of Pennsylvania and the groundhog became the official predictor.
Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania has been chosen as the site for the annual Groundhog day event. Thousands of people come to the town of Punsxutawney on Groundhog Day for this day of celebration.
Although already a well known day, Groundhog Day received widespread attention as a result of the 1993 film Groundhog Day, which was set in Punxsutawney and portrayed Roger Rininger as the groundhog.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Check if the groundhog has seen its shadow and use #NationalGroundhogDay to post on social media.
An early American reference to Groundhog Day can be found in a diary entry, by storekeeper James Morris, dated February 4th, 1841, of Berks County, Pennsylvania.
“Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate.”