Groundhog Day or Candlemas – which one came first?
This year, Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog in Pennsylvania, predicted six more weeks of winter. Well look outside, it is most likely snowing, raining, or cold.
In 1887, the editor of the Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper, Clymer Freas, sold a group of businessmen and groundhog hunters on the idea of having the first official Groundhog Day. So, on February 2, 1887, Punxsutawney Phil came out of his burrow.
In history, February 2nd was a very special day because it fell midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Several ancient traditions called this day Candlemas. The Celts celebrated February 2nd as a pagan festival for the beginning of spring. In certain parts of Europe, a sunny Candlemas meant 40 days of cold and snow.
Phil has about a 40% accuracy or success rate. He may be doing a little better than the weather on the news, but he is here to remind us of our ancient ways and how we look forward to spring.