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Groundhog Day

Christina L., Staff Writer

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According to Groundhog Day folklore, if the groundhog emerges from its burrow on Groundhog Day, spring will arrive early that year. But if it is sunny when the groundhog emerges, it will get scared of its shadow and retreat back to its den, meaning that the cold winter weather will persist for about six more weeks. This holiday is a way that people predict the weather/changes of the seasons in many places

Groundhog Day is a traditional holiday celebrated on February 2nd, because it is halfway through the winter solstice and the vernal equinox each year. The celebration began a Pennsylvania/ German custom in the 18th and 19th centuries. Its origins trace back to an old European lore, in which the “forecaster” was a badger, or a sacred bear, instead of the groundhog, which was able to predict the weather, using this knowledge to plant crops. The tradition grew from similar beliefs associated with Candlemas Day, which Christians celebrated on February 2nd. An old English song tells, “If Candlemas be fair and bright, /Come, Winter, have another flight.” The holiday’s traditional song revealed that early Christians used the weather Candlemas as the weather predictor of whether winter would stay or spring would come, much like Americans’ use of the groundhog. Many towns in America commemorate the holiday with festivals and gather to watch the groundhog. For example, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania it has been a tradition and official event since 1887 to go on an outing for the search of groundhogs, especially the one named Punxsutawney Phil. For a more entertaining Groundhog Day, consider watching the American fantasy-comedy film, Groundhog Day.

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