Happy Groundhog Day!
As far as the calendar is concerned, there’s no question about whether or not six weeks more of winter lies ahead. Of course it does! Still, the tradition waiting for the official pronouncement from Punxsutawney Phil lives on.
Wonder how Groundhog Day began?
Apparently it’s a blending of two cultures: Native American and German. The Delaware Tribe settled the area which is now Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania (the town’s name comes from the Delaware’s name for it). They held the groundhog in great regard.
German settlers who later came to the area brought with them a winter observance known as Candlemas Day. (Still celebrated today – and also known as the Feast of the Presentation – it falls on the 40th day of the Christmas/Epiphany season, which is February 2nd.) In 1800’s Europe, it was traditional to estimate how much longer winter would last based on the weather conditions on Candelmas – so these Pennsylvania Germans did the same.
Sometime around the mid-1800s, the groundhog became part of the forecast mix in rural Pennsylvania. The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club was established in 1899 – and the rest is history!