Groundhog Day 2017

Crowds gathered in Punxsutawney, Pa. to witness the annual ritual on Feb. 2

    The groundhog’s forecast came around 7:25 a.m. in Punxsutawney, Pa., where scattered snow showers were passing up and the temperature was a desensitizing 25 degrees. That means, according to Groundhog Day tradition, the U.S. will brave another six weeks of winter. We don’t know where the shadow originated from with the sun simply coming over the skyline and thick mists overhead — maybe every one of the lights from the TV cameras misled him.


The spunky marmot did not see his shadow a year ago, anticipating an early spring amid what was very nearly a record-solid El Niño. It wasn’t far of a long shot — forecasters had been stating a similar thing for quite a long time.


Groundhog Day has its underlying foundations in the old Christian convention of Candlemas Day, when ministries would favor and circulate candles required for winter. The candles spoke to what extent and how chilly the winter would be. Germans developed this idea by selecting an animal–the hedgehog–as a method for anticipating the climate. When they came to America, German pilgrims in Pennsylvania proceeded with the custom, in spite of the fact that they changed from hedgehogs to groundhogs, which were abundant in the Keystone State.






Allison Hersh

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