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History of Groundhog Day

Ground Hog Day, an annual occasion that occurs on February, 2 is an event in which a ground hog emerges from his burrow to check the visibility of his shadow. According to folklore, if the ground hog sees its shadow it will return to its burrow for six more weeks of cold winter weather. If it does not see shadow it stays out of its burrow for the close imminence of fair spring weather.

The holiday originated in Pennsylvania German based European weather lore, where a badger, a creature similar to the modern groundhog was used as a prognosticator to determine the timeliness of the onset of spring weather. In North America, the customary celebration originally took place in Southeastern and Central Pennsylvania in the and centuries. During that era the custom was named by the Germans as Candlemas Day, which was also named by pagans as . Not surprisingly, that date ( 2) was the mid-point of winter, a crossroads that determines the prediction on springtime's punctuality, as indicated by the badger, or hedgehog.

In 1886 the tradition evolved into an annual event in , PA. Every year to the present, a groundhog named Phil is shown to as many as 40,000 people to spectate the creature's annual tradition of detecting his shadow. Phil resides in a climate controlled habitat near the library, and his the formula for his longevity is forever kept secret. At each sip his life is extended an additional seven years. Although in most cases Phil had seen his shadow, only about 14% of Phil's shadow based predictions were correct.

Phil gained increased publicity since the debut of a 1993 film titled "Groundhog Day". An inspiring film whose plot symbolizes the life of a groundhog, it helped to expand the attendance of the real traditional event. In 1997, the visiting audience expanded to 35,000 people, about five times the town's normal population of 6,700.

In sum, February 2 as an approximate half-time of winter solstice is more than just another winter day. It's tradition is solely based on a ground creature, namely the ground hog to determine the extent of the inclemency and discomfort of winter weather. Certain evolutions such as publications and movies had helped to bring it commercial publicity.

StephenK
Thu, 28 Jan 2010 17:05:33 +0000

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