Feb 2, 2014

Groundhog Day 2014: Six More Weeks of Winter Weather

Today is Groundhog Day, originating in Pennsylvania via the German immigrants where the folklore and tradition comes from. The Pennsylvania German description is Gundsaudagg, Murmeltiertag. It occurs every February 2nd. If it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring will come early; if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, which means that winter weather will continue for six more weeks.
In southeastern Pennsylvania, Grundsow Lodges celebrate the holiday with fersommlinge – social events that include food, speeches and entertainment. During the event only Pennsylvanian German is spoken and anyone caught speaking English pay a penalty (nickel, dime or quarter) for every English word spoken and the money is put into a bowl at the center of the table.
The largest Groundhog Day celebration, where English is spoken, is held at Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania with Phil the groundhog the star of the event. It's popularity was further increased nationwide after the 1993 film Groundhog Day was released starring Bill Murray.
This morning the event took place [video at end of article] and was televised …
... and Phil predicts there will be six more weeks of winter weather.
Ancient European weather lore used a badger or bear as the predicting animal. The festival or tradition has similarities to the ancient Pagan festival of Imbolc, the seasonal turning point of the Celtic calendar that occurs on February 1st.
According to Wikipedia
The first documented American reference to Groundhog Day can be found in a diary entry,[8] dated February 4, 1841, of Morgantown, Pennsylvania, storekeeper James Morris: Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans,[9] 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. According to Groundhog Day organizers, the rodents' forecasts are accurate 75% to 90% of the time. According to the StormFax Weather Almanac and records kept since 1887, Punxsutawney Phil's weather predictions have been correct 39% of the time. [Source]
In Serbia, a similar custom is celebrated by Orthodox Christians on February 15th during the feast of Sretenje.
The following video is a trailer of the film Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray ...

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