Well, here we are, February 2, Groundhog Day, that infamous day when the country looks to a large rodent to predict the weather. How did this all start? Did the folks in 1887 get tired of the weathermen always being wrong and decide a large gopher could do just as well?
Punxsutawney Phil could be Celtic, rooted in the Pagan holiday of Imbolc, when a hibernating animal casting a shadow predicted six more weeks of winter. It’s more likely that Phil is of German descent, though, with all the German settlers in that part of Pennsylvania. The German tradition holds that blue skies on February 2, Candlemas Day, predict more cold weather. Somehow the hedgehog got involved, and the myth became that if the skies were clear, a hedgehog would see his shadow. When the Germans settled in the New World, the tradition transferred to groundhogs, and in 1887, Punxsutawney Phil was born. He now lives a couple of miles outside Punxsutawney with his wife, Phyllis, and daughter, Phelicia.
What most people don’t realize is that there has only been one P.Phil. Every year he’s given a sip of Groundhog Juice, a secret recipe that gives him seven more years of life. Other fun facts about this famous rodent can be found here.
So how do we celebrate Groundhog Day? I will admit most of our traditions stem from the Bill Murray movie, which is one of our favorites, and which we watch after our dinner of leftovers (you know, the same dinner we had the previous evening). We all drink Groundhog Juice (a secret recipe, of course) for 7 more years of good life, and have a shadow-puppet show. How do you celebrate?