Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day

Did you know …

 

Groundhog Day falls on February 2nd, the same day as Candlemas Day, a Christian holiday also called “Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple.”

Candlemas

After Jesus was born, Mary waited forty days to present Jesus at the temple in Jerusalem, the time required by the Law of Moses in Leviticus 12.

To remember Jesus’ presentation, for centuries Christians attended services where candles were lit and blessed on February 2nd. As this day is about halfway between the beginning of winter and the beginning of spring, folks began to search for signs of spring on this day. Germans watched for a badger to cast a shadow. If it did, there would be six more weeks of winter.

Old English saying:

If Candlemas be fair and bright,

Winter has another flight.

If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,

Winter will not come again.

rodent-1559013_960_720Pennsylvania’s first celebration of Groundhog Day

The official celebration in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, began February 2, 1886. The groundhog, named Punxsutawney Phil, did not see his shadow.

Gobblers Knob in Punxsutawney

The next year they made the first trip to Gobblers Knob, where Punxsutawney Phil gives his prediction every year. Gobblers Knob is called the Weather Capital of the World.

 If he sees his shadow

The groundhog hibernates (sleeps deeply) for the winter. According to legend, if the groundhog sees his shadow on February 2nd, he goes back inside his burrow and sleeps for another six weeks. If the sun doesn’t come out that day, it means an early spring.

Phil isn’t always right, but it’s a fun event to celebrate in the middle of winter.

-Sandra Merville Hart

 

Resources

“Candlemas,” timeanddate.com, 2014/01/16 http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/common/candlemas.

“Frequently Asked Questions About Groundhog Day,” visitPA.com, 2014/01/16 http://www.groundhog.org/more-to-know/faq/.

“Groundhog Day,” Stormfax, Inc, 2014/01/16 http://www.stormfax.com/ghogday.htm.

 Hartman, Holly. “Groundhog Day,” Pearson Education publishing as Infoplease, 2014/01/16 http://www.infoplease.com/spot/groundhogday1.html.

Peppas, Lynn. Groundhog Day, Crabtree Publishing Company, 2011. 

Women’s Devotional Bible 1: New International Version, Zondervan Publishing House, 1994.

 

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