Groundhog Day this February

2018-01-31 06:02

THOUSANDS of visitors flock to Puxsutawney in Pennsylvania, America, on February 2 to await the appearance of Phil Puxsutawney, a groundhog who is reckoned to be the country’s top weather forecaster.

On this day, the groundhog wakes up from his hibernation, pops out and if it’s sunny will cast a shadow, which means another six weeks of winter, so back he goes to sleep in his den. However, if the day is cloudy and shadowless, Phil stays out and everyone celebrates that spring is just around the corner.Groundhog Day is said to be linked to the ancient Candlemas Day when the clergy would bless candles symbolising the “light of the world” to give to their congregations.

This marked the midpoint between the winter solstice and spring equinox in the northern hemisphere.

Many of Pennsylvania’s early settlers were from Germany who had celebrated a similar tradition but with a hedgehog.

They changed to a groundhog and the event was publicised from 1887 in the Puxsutawney newspaper.

Since then, Groundhog Day has attracted many thousands of interested visitors, all of whom debate whether Phil will see his shadow or not.

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