Groundhog Day

by Marie Fester

February 2nd 2015, just another Monday, right? This date actually marks the halfway point between the winter and spring equinox and is Groundhog Day (NOAA). Groundhog Day does in fact have its roots in a European tradition called Candlemas where people would light candles to brighten the winter. From there, many cultures adopted rhymes and gave meaning to how the weather on Candlemas would predict when spring was to come (CBC, The Canadian Press). Before groundhogs were used to predict the weather, hedgehogs were used (CBC, The Canadian Press).

The first North American groundhog day was in 1887 in Pennsylvania, where the tradition was brought to life by German settlers (CBC, The Canadian Press). Punxsutawney Phil, the original Pennsylvanian groundhog’s name, has now been predicting the weather for 127 years. Groundhog Day draws approximately 33,000 people to the small town of 6,000 every year.


Phil, however, is not the only groundhog. He has fellow weather predictors throughout the United States and Canada. This year, Phil and Sam, from Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia, predicted a longer winter. However Canada’s most famous groundhog, Willie Blood vials for a blood drive Source: LCpl Austin Schlosser from Wiarton, Ontario who has been predicting since 1956 (Canada’s first Groundhog Day), said we could expect an early spring (CTV, CBC).

Meanwhile in Staten Island, New York, Chuck predicted an early spring and stayed clear from Mayor De Blasio, who dropped last year’s rodent, leading to the death of the creature (NY Times).

Unfortunately, Weather Canada and the National Climatic Data Center of the United States are both predicting more winter (CBC, NOAA). Nevertheless, Groundhog Day will continue to be celebrated for the amusement it provides in the dead of winter.

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