The history of Groundhog Day

The history of Groundhog Day

Photo by: photo courtesy of Creative Commons

The first Groundhog Day celebration took place in Punxsutawney, Philadelphia on February 2. Every year since then, thousands of people gather to watch whether Phil, the famous groundhog, sees his shadow which determines if we will have six more weeks of winter or if spring is arriving.

The background of this tradition stems from German immigrants that travelled to the United States. They believed small animals such as badgers determined a sunny day based on if they saw their shadow. They later adopted the native groundhog as the annual forecaster.

Another origin of Groundhog Day comes from the Celtic festival of Imbolc which is a celebration marking the start of spring. This tradition fell on February 1, and the festival also depends on small animals to predict the arrival of spring through their shadow.

Despite the fact that Phil has been wrong more than half the time for over 30 years, people still love to celebrate this holiday. One interesting fact about Phil is his name, his full name is “Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary.”

This Friday Phil crawled out of his burrow and performed his annual routine, he saw his shadow, indicating six more weeks of winter.