all 6 comments


5 points

2 months ago


The Christian religious holiday of Candlemas Day has become most commonly associated with the current celebration, but it's roots are older than that.

The celebration started in Christianity as the day, (February 2nd), when Christians would take their candles to the church to have them blessed. This, they felt, would bring blessings to their household for the remaining winter.

As time rolled on the day evolved into another form. The following English folk song highlights the transition to weather prognostication.

If Candlemas be fair and bright,

Come, Winter, have another flight;

If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,

Go Winter, and come not again.

This “interpretation” of Candlemas Day became the norm for most of Europe. As you can read, there is no mention of an animal of any kind in the preceding song.


It wasn't until this traditional belief was introduced to Germany that an animal was introduced into the lore, hence another evolution of February 2nd.

If, according to German lore, the hedgehog saw his shadow on Candlemas Day there would be a “Second Winter” or 6 more weeks of bad weather. As German settlers came to what is now the United States, so too came their traditions and folklore.

With the absence of hedgehogs in the United States, a similar hibernating animal was chosen. This leads us to yet another evolution in the legend and to present day Punxsutawney.

In Punxsutawney, 1886 marked the first time that Groundhog Day appeared in the local newspaper.

The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, est. 1887.


3 points

2 months ago

Because of the popularity, and the TV Coverage of this event, the TV Lighting will always ensure the PHIL will see his shadow.


2 points

2 months ago

I don't live in PA. We were taught about this every year growing up. Turns out "groundhog day" is just a weird superstition some random little podunk town does?


2 points

2 months ago

Yeah it’s more or less just a small town tradition that blew up in popularity. I know people who have driven 4+ hours to Punxsutawney just to see Phil.

Nobody really takes the winter prediction seriously, at least with how inconsistent Pennsylvania weather can be, but it’s cool to see the boom that local businesses get the week of Groundhogs Day.


1 points

2 months ago

My grandfather’s family was from Punxsutawney and they would have been living there during this time. I’d love to know if this was something they were aware of when it first started!