Groundhog Day is on February 2, and we wait to see whether or not winter will continue for another six weeks.
This holiday was originally established by German-speaking immigrants who came to Pennsylvania in the 1700s, along with their special seasonal superstitions. In the 18th and 19th century, they developed their own take on the legend of Candlemas by bringing with the local groundhog to forecast the weather.
In this case, people would know if winter chill would continue. If the weather becomes cloudy, we would most likely expect a warmer temperature in the next few weeks. The Pennsylvania Dutch has transformed this idea of predicting weather by an animal into a tradition.
The first Groundhog Day was celebrated by a local newspaper editor, Clymer Freas, around 1886. Freas went with many business owners and Groundhog hunters to find out if one of the groundhog celebrities, Punxsutawney Phil, could see his shadow and forecast the weather.
In addition to getting to know the background of this holiday, many people believed that Phil drinks a magic “elixir of life” every summer, which makes him live longer than other groundhogs.
Phil has kept reporting the weather since 1886, and he was the only one. Any other groundhogs who attempted to do what he did are classified as cheaters.
Today, thousands of people will attend different events in a Pennsylvania Dutch dialect on February 2. You can also see a group of people called the inner circle who wear top hats and often conduct official proceedings.
The concept of Groundhog Day sounds very interesting alongside its several traditions. One of the biggest celebrations would be the gathering of people at Punxsutawney to witness the groundhog Phil emerging from his tunnels. The entire event will be live streamed with follow up videos, so don’t worry if you can’t make it there.
Moreover, baking and eating a dirt pie is another observance on this holiday. And of course, don’t forget to spend some time and watch the “Groundhog Day” movie that features Bill Murray.