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Groundhog Day

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Groundhog day…we’ve all heard of it, you’ve probably even celebrated it.  But what the heck is it all about?

The idea that somehow a large rodent can poke its head out of a hole in the ground, open his eyes and based on what he sees, predict the weather for the next 2 months…that’s, uh pretty weird.
So who the heck dreamt this up?

Well would you believe that this crazy holiday was the brain-child of the early settlers of our very own state?

The first mention of anything like groundhogs day was made in relation to a holiday that began as a Pagan celebration and eventually became Candlemas Day a Christian holiday.  Tradition held that…

“For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
So far will the snow swirl until May.
For as the snow blows on Candlemas Day,
So far will the sun shine before May.”

Basically if its sunny and beautiful on Candlmas Day then we’re in for snow and cold weather for a little longer.  But if its snowy and grey on Candlemas Day, warm weather and sunshine are just around the corner.

So, then where does the groundhog come in?  Well since groundhogs are plentiful in PA, the early celebrators decided they’d see if one of the little guys made a shadow when he popped out of his burrough.  If he did then they knew it was sunny and sunny weather on February second means more snow for two months to come.
And thus Groundhogs Day was born.

Since those early days tons of goofy pop culture has grown up around this event.  Last year almost 40 groundhogs in different cities across the country helped predict the weather.  In Punxsutawney, the largest celebration, over 40,000 people gather to speak traditional Pennsylvania Dutch and wait on a groundhog.

I leave you, on this Groundhog’s eve with a clip from one of the most famous Pop Culture Groundhog references featuring the great Bill Murray.  

-Brooke, CLP South Side

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