There are several different ways of defining when spring begins, but by some common methods of doing so, the first day of spring is around March 20, which is always just under seven weeks after February 2, even in leap years. Also the idea of "spring arriving early" is a highly subjective notion which could arguably refer to almost anything, from several days to several weeks. At any rate, Groundhog Day serves as a convenient and whimsical milestone to mark the end of the darkest three months of the year (November, December, and January in the Northern Hemisphere), and bookends nicely with Halloween, the two holidays being opposite and roughly equidistant in time from the Winter Solstice, with Halloween festivities starting after sunset and taking place in the nighttime, and Groundhog Day being a celebration of sunrise and morning.
Wann der Dachas sei Schadde seht im Lichtmess Marye, dann geht er widder in's Loch un beleibt noch sechs Woche drin. Wann Ilchtmess Marye awwer drieb is, dann bleibt der dachs haus un's watt noch enanner Friehyaahr. (When the groundhog sees his shadow on the morning of February 2, he will again go into his hole and remain there for six weeks. But if the morning of February 2 is overcast, the groundhog will remain outside and there will be another spring.)
PHIL "I'll tell you what I do know. Even in a day as long as this, even in a lifetime of endless repetition, there's still room for possibilities."
If you’ve never seen it – or just want to see it again – you’re in luck, as Sky Cinema Comedy is showing it on repeat today.
In Southeastern Pennsylvania, Groundhog Lodges (Grundsow Lodges) celebrate the holiday with fersommlinge, social events in which food is served, speeches are made, and one or more g'spiel (plays or skits) are performed for entertainment. The Pennsylvania German dialect is the only language spoken at the event, and those who speak English pay a penalty, usually in the form of a nickel, dime, or quarter per word spoken, with the money put into a bowl in the center of the table.
But woolly bear caterpillars aren’t the best prognosticators, either: While their bands may vary from year to year, researchers have found the variation is due to last year’s weather, not the upcoming winter.
When they’re out and about, the bristly rodents eat succulent plants, wild berries and insects—and they don’t mind helping themselves to garden vegetables or agricultural crops.
In Irish folk tradition St. Brighid's Day, 1 February, is the first day of Spring, and thus of the farmer's year. ... To see a hedgehog was a good weather sign, for the hedgehog comes come out of the hole in which he has spent the winter, looks about to judge the weather, and returns to his burrow if bad weather is going to continue. If he stays out, it means that he knows the mild weather is coming.
The groundhog is known as Punxsatawney Phil, and he is looked after throughout the year by a select group called the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club Inner Circle, who also plan the annual ceremony.
Prediction based on an animal's behavior used to be given more credence in the past when stores of food became scarce as winter progressed.
In Raleigh, NC, an annual event at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences includes Sir Walter Wally. According to museum officials, Wally has been correct 58% of the time vs. Punxsutawney Phil's 39%.
The day revolves around a ceremony which is held at day break at a place in Punxsatawney called Gobbler’s Knob (yes, really).
According to lore there has only ever been one Phil – who has been alive ever since the first ceremony back in 1886.
The chronologies given are somewhat inconsistent in the literature. The first "Groundhog Picnic" was held in 1887 according to one source, but given as post-circa-1889 by a local historian in a journal. The historian states that around 1889 the meat was served in the lodge's banquet, and the organized hunt started after that.
Thousands of years ago when animalism and nature worship were prevalent, people in the area of Europe now known as Germany believed that the badger had the power to predict the coming of spring. They watched the badger to know when to plant their crops. By the time the first German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania they probably understood that this was not true but the tradition continued.
The Pennsylvania Dutch were German-speaking immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania. They developed their own take on the legend of Candlemas in the 18th and 19th centuries bringing with them the custom of the native Groundhog as their annual weather announcer. Candlemas involved the clergy blessing and distributing candles needed for winter. The Pennsylvania Dutch transformed the idea by selecting an animal to predict their needs for winter.
The men trekked to a site called Gobbler’s Knob, where the inaugural groundhog became the bearer of bad news when he saw his shadow.
Groundhog Day is a popular observance in many parts of the United States. Although some states have in some cases adopted their own groundhogs, the official groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, lives at Gobbler’s Knob near Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The town has attracted thousands of visitors over the years to experience various Groundhog Day events and activities on February 2.