The first written account about Groundhogs Day was an early American reference made in the Pennsylvania Dutch Folklore Center in the Franklin and Marshall College. The holiday coincides with the Christian holiday Candlemas, which is midpoint between the winter solstice. Here is an excerpt from that article.
“Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate.” February 4, 1841 – from Morgantown, Berks County (Pennsylvania) storekeeper James Morris’ diary…”
Groundhog Day became an official holiday twenty-five years later on February 2, 1886. Newspaper editor, Clymer Freas proclaimed in The Punxsutawney Spirit on that first official day when going to press that, “Today is Groundhog Day and up to the time of going to press the beast has not seen its shadow.”
Punxsutawney Phil the official name of this ever-famous groundhog and its descendants has made Pennsylvania the weather capital of the world. How did he predict the weather would be on that first recorded outing? He did not see his shadow, so it was an early spring.
Waiting on Phil
An old German legend says, if a groundhog sees his shadow on Feb. 2, the midpoint between winter and spring solstice, then winter will last another six weeks. If not, spring comes early. European folklore originally dubbed it badger day, but German immigrants in Pennsylvania couldn’t find badgers, so they started using groundhogs.
Records show Punxsutawney Phil called for an extended winter more than 100 times since 1887, and an early spring just 18 times including this year.
Candlemas Day Poem
If Candlemas Day be dry and fair,
The half o’ winter’s to come and mair;
If Candlemas Day be wet and foul,
The half o’ winter’s gane at Yule.
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter is gone and will not come again.
William Shephard Walsh
Groundhog Day Festival
Punxsutawney, Philadelphia, is celebrating their 130th Groundhogs Day celebration with fans dressing up as groundhogs themselves and in topcoats a common suit for the inner circle of the Groundhogs Day clan.
2016 Groundhog prediction
Did Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow this year? Punxsutawney Phil, the infamous weather-predicting woodchuck came out Tuesday morning, Feb.2, 2016, at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, and did not see his shadow, which means an early spring.