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More Winter!

KAITLIN KLIES Jon Jee Staff Published: February 2, 2017 8:59 AM

Every year, on February 2nd, everyone awaits for the groundhog to appear, wondering if we’ll have six more weeks of winter or if spring will slowly start to arrive. Groundhog Day is said to go all the way back to its Christian tradition of Candlemas Day. This was a day where clergy would bless and distribute candles that were needed for the winter time. The candles that were set out and blessed would represent how long the winter would be.

This tradition was expanded by the Germans who took the concept and used an animal instead to predict the weather. They used a hedgehog as their animal. Once the Germans immigrated and settled in Pennsylvania, this tradition continued but because groundhogs were so plentiful in the Keystone State, they switched from hedgehogs to groundhogs. In 1887, declared that Phil, the Punxsutawney groundhog, would be the only true weather-forecaster in America.

Since then, the line of groundhogs that have been known as Phil are the most famous groundhogs. But these groundhogs aren't the only famous weather-predicting animals. Across the United States, other towns now have their own animals.

Thousands of people gather to see whether or not Phil will see his shadow or not. This event goes on for three days and it features many different entertainments and activities. There are many other traditions like Groundhog Day.

A tradition in Germany is Siebenschläfergtag, which means “Seven Sleepers Day.” Most people confuse this with the German word for “squirrel” but a squirrel has absolutely nothing to do with it. This day determines how much rain the will get during the summer. So on February 27, if it rains, it means the rest of summer will have lots of rain. But if it's sunny and clear, the summer will be bright and sunny.
There is a similar tradition like this in the United Kingdom called St. Swithun's Day where if it rains on that day, then it will for the next 40 days and nights. In Alaska, they Celebrate Marmot Day on February 2nd since there is a low population of groundhogs.

Many have gathered around and have waited to see if the groundhog will see his shadow or not. The groundhog saw his shadow and there will be six more weeks of winter.

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