Thursday, February 2, 2017

Celebrate Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day occurs on February 2 each year. Arriving at the midway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox, it launches a celebration of Candlemas.

Punxsutawney Phil, a resident of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, has predicted the weather since 1887. Men volunteer as a part of the Inner Circle to care for him.

Believers feel that whether or not the groundhog sees its shadow indicates how much longer winter will last. If Phil sees his shadow, it suggests six more weeks of winter. If the groundhog doesn't see its shadow, spring will arrive early.
The Groundhog Day celebration begins early in the morning with thousands of people gathering to see if the weather-predicting groundhog spots his shadow or not.

German immigrants brought the tradition of Groundhog Day in the late 1800s. At that time members of Groundhog Lodges, meant for socializing with others and enjoying meals, planned the "unburrowing" ceremony. They originally used badgers or bears as their forecasters since both animals hibernate and awaken when days become longer and the sun's angle becomes higher. 

Today Phil did see his shadow at 7:31 am which means six more weeks of winter. Phil squealed as they pulled him from his burrow. He was hoisted into the air and played on a stump before his official prognostication. "He's squealin', he's hollerin'!" the emcee said before concluding, "Phil is feisty today." A light snow fell as Phil made his 131st prediction.

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