There’s a holiday, of sorts, that many of us probably won’t celebrate too wildly.
How Ground Hog Day managed to find its way to “holiday” status is a mystery to most humble Americans.
Where the day originated from, I truly didn’t know. A little time searching the internet however, uncovered Ground Hog Day as a Pennsylvania Dutch (German) custom dating back to the 1700s. Our European ancestors, it seems, brought the tradition with them to the new world. Apparently, in the “old country”, a badger or “sacred bear” was the original weatherman.
For you trivia buffs, February 2nd also coincides with the Catholic Candlemas, and, it once also marked a Celtic holiday by the name of Imbolc. But back to our burrowing critter…
Punxsutawney Phil, is a superstar these days. His appearance from his hole now involves social events, food, speeches and entertainment. Crowds of up to 40,000 in attendance have been known to gather in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, since 1886.
The earliest American reference has been found in the diary of storekeeper James Morris (Berks County, Pennsylvania) :
February 5, 1841
“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.”
This winter has, overall, been pretty mild…so far. At least for those of us here in the South. But that doesn’t mean anything just yet. February could bring some interesting surprises. One never knows. I guess we’ll have to wait to see what the Ground Hog has to say.
Just my thoughts,