Ground Hog Day is a popular tradition celebrated on February 2nd. It is believed that the tradition of Ground Hog Day originated from an ancient Christian celebration known as Candlemas Day, in which local clergy would bless candles needed for winter, and distribute them to the people. The celebration marked the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. According to the legend; if Candlemas Day was sunny and the skies were clear, a long, rough winter would ensue. But, if the day was cloudy, spring would soon be there.
The tradition continued and many years later, The Germans added to the lore by introducing a hedgehog to the myth. If the sun was shining and the hedgehog saw its shadow, six more weeks of bad weather would be expected. If the day was cloudy and the shadow wasn’t seen; then surely spring was on its way!
A large population of Germans settled in the state of Pennsylvania, adopting the local ground hog to replace the hedgehog, in the story. In 1886, the Punxsutawney Spirit Newspaper printed the first piece regarding the tradition and observance of what is widely known and celebrated today, as “Ground Hog Day.” And the rest, as they say, is history!
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