Groundhog Day 2013: Did Punxsutawney Phil See His Shadow?
Recent Arctic temperatures are giving the day a bit more resonance than usual.
Punxsutawney Phil, the rodent weather sage, did not see his shadow this morning, thus predicting an early spring.
According to the myth, if a groundhog sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter; if he does not, spring is right around the corner.
Last year, Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter while Woody, Michigan's Official Groundhog, called for an early spring.
In Royal Oak, the Royal Oak Groundhog Day Club met Friday at BlackFinn for drinks, appetizers and games — all to celebrate Groundhog Day.
Groundhog Day and other similar legends are based on the beliefs of Europeans, but the true origins of the holiday are lost in time. The day originated from the Germans, Scots and early Christian Europeans.
It is celebrated every year on Feb. 2. On this day, a groundhog comes out of its burrow and checks for his shadow to determine how soon spring will arrive.
Groundhog Day as we know it in the U.S. started because the Pennsylvania Dutch farmers wanted to know if spring was coming early or not. That information helped them decide when they should plant seeds and half their hay.
Europeans used hedgehogs as the animal that determined the season change but Pennsylvania Dutch farmers chose the groundhog because they were found in greater numbers in North America. Groundhog Day stemmed from the ancient traditions of Candlemas, a holiday that originated in early Christian Europe that was celebrated by the Germans.
According to the Stormfax Weather Almanac, records show Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow 100 out of 116 times, and has been correct only 39 perent of the time – leaving some to question his credentials.
At any rate, just be thankful we didn’t have a repeat of Groundhog Day 2011 when a blizzard ripped through Royal Oak dumping about 10 inches of snow.