Monday, February 02, 2009

Groundhog Day

Well I am a little late getting this post out today but I would be remiss if I didn't mention that today was Groundhog Day. Although, my kids tried to convince me that it was a federal holiday, it is simply just a fun day. And one that your ancestors celebrated, or at least may have known about, since 1887.

The history of Groundhog Day is this, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica Online:

The beginning of February, which falls roughly halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, has long been a significant time of the year in many cultures. Among the Celts, for example, it was the time of Imbolc, observed in anticipation of the birth of farm animals and the planting of crops, and February 2 is also the date of the Christian festival of Candlemas, also called the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin.

During the Middle Ages there arose the belief that animals such as the badger and the bear interrupted their hibernation to appear on this day. If the day was sunny and the animal saw its shadow, six more weeks of winter weather remained. If, however, the day was cloudy, it was a sign that the weather during the following weeks would be mild, leading to an early spring.

German immigrants to the United States carried the legend with them, and in Pennsylvania the groundhog came to be substituted for the badger. Since 1887, an animal in Punxsutawney, in the west-central part of Pennsylvania, has been the center of a staged appearance each February 2.

If you want to see the official website of Punxsutawney Phil, check out this link And if you missed this morning's announcement, there will be 6 more weeks of winter.
Interesting, since it was 80 degrees here in Southern California today.

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