Stemming from folklore, Groundhog Day is a day full of festivals to watch the groundhog emerge from its burrow. They say if it is cloudy when it emerges, then spring will come early. If it is sunny, the groundhog will of course see his shadow and return to its burrow for six more weeks of winter.
The celebration, which began in the 18th and 19th centuries as a Pennsylvania German custom, actually has its origins in ancient European weather lore. In Europe, a badger or bear is used as the indicator.Â It also bears similarities to the Pagan festival of Imbolc or Candlemas, the seasonal turning point of the Celtic calendar, which is celebrated on February 1.
The largest gathering for a Groundhog Day celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania withÂ Punxsutawney Phil.
One of the more popular celebrations in the US is in southeastern Pennsylvania. Groundhog LodgesÂ celebrate the holiday with many social events in which food is served,Â and plays are performed. TheÂ The Pennsylvania German dialect is the only language allowed to spoken at the event, and those who dare speak English pay a penalty for every word spoken.
Shadow or not, we are still in for six more weeks of winter. Spring is on it’s way.