Groundhog Day 2013: Is More Winter in Store?
Punxsutawney Phil gives his firm answer.
Groundhog Day is on Saturday, Feb. 2 this year, and the recent Arctic temperatures are giving the day a bit more resonance than usual.
According to the myth, if a groundhog sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter; if he does not, spring is right around the corner.
Last year, Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter while Staten Island Chuck called for an early spring.
This year, Phil's shadow was nowhere to be found, according to the Huffington Post. That means residents can expect an early spring and a steady increase in temperatures.
Groundhog Day and other similar legends are based on the beliefs of Europeans, but the true origins of the holiday are lost in time. The day originated from the Germans, Scots and early Christian Europeans.
It is celebrated every year on Feb. 2. On this day, a groundhog comes out of its burrow and checks for his shadow to determine how soon spring will arrive.
A notable Groundhog Day celebration takes place every year in Woodstock, IL. The city is located in McHenry County about 40 miles north of Batavia.
Woodstock’s weeklong Groundhog Day celebration already is in full swing at the Woodstock Opera House, 121 W. Van Buren St., Woodstock, according to the Woodstock Groundhog Day website. There are guided tours and free showings of the movie and a good time to be had for all.
Local celebrity Woodstock Willie will make his appearance on the balcony of the Woodstock Opera House at 7 a.m. Saturday and make his prognostication promptly at 7:07 a.m. Spectators are invited to gather on the street below. Woodstock Willie gets woken up by a polka band.
Groundhog Day as we know it in the U.S. started because the Pennsylvania Dutch farmers wanted to know if spring was coming early or not. That information helped them decide when they should plant seeds and half their hay.
Europeans used hedgehogs as the animal that determined the season change but Pennsylvania Dutch farmers chose the groundhog because they were found in greater numbers in North America. Groundhog Day stemmed from the ancient traditions of Candlemas, a holiday that originated in early Christian Europe that was celebrated by the Germans.
In central Pennsylvania, the people of Punxsutawney hold celebrations as they wait for Punxsutawney Phil, the native groundhog resident of the town, to come out of his burrow and check for his shadow.
Geneva Patch Editor Rick Nagel contributed to this report.
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