Groundhog Day!

Today is the day! We find out if Phil the groundhog from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania sees his shadow. If he does, it means there will be six more weeks of winter.

Here in the desert Southwest, that’s not a problem since the weather is so pleasant. Unfortunately, for those of you who live in the winter weather and have braved all the snow and cold–six more weeks can seem like a very long time.

Groundhog Day was first celebrated on Gobbler’s Knob, PA on February 2, 1887.

The roots of the celebration are firmly plants in Candlemas, an ancient Christian tradition. During this time, the clergy would distribute candles they had blessed. The German community expanded on this idea by including a hedgehog as a predictor of winter’s length. When German settlers came to America, they changed the animal from a hedgehog to the groundhog. Hedgehogs were hard to find!

Groundhogs hibernate for the winter, climb trees, can swim, and whistle when they are frightened!

They live in burrows, which is where you can find Phil most of the time. He is most likely the most famous groundhog in the world and has a cushy life filled with vegetables and fruit. He works one day per year, but what a day! There’s even a ball in honor of his day.

I hope you get the weather prediction you hope for from Phil! Sonja

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