Would you believe the tradition of
Groundhog Day comes from Europe?
The idea originates from Christianity or, rather, Candlemas Day. On this day, the clergy were to bless
and distribute candles that were necessary for survival during a long, cold
winter. These candles were also
symbolic for the length and weather conditions of winter.
Germans added to this idea
by designating an animal as the official means by which the weather was
predicted. They had a hedgehog
come out and if it saw it's shadow, then you could expect six more weeks of winter. If it didn't, then you
could expect an early spring. When
the Germans came to America and settled in Pennsylvania, they brought this
tradition with them. There were,
however, no hedgehogs in Pennsylvania but many, many groundhogs. The groundhog then became the official
prognosticator of the winter season.
In 1887, a group of
groundhog hunters from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania named themselves, "The
Punxsutawney Groundhog Club." One
particular member of the group, being an editor for a newspaper, decided to
announce that "Phil," the Punxsutawney Groundhog was the one and only official
weather prognosticating groundhog.
Now, every year on February 2nd, the world awaits
his prediction. Tens of thousands
of people make the half-mile walk from the festivities to Gobbler's Knob. This is a small hill outside of
Punxsutawney where the prediction is made. The results are entered into the Congressional Record. Music, dancing and numerous activities
begin at midnight and extend until morning when the prediction is made before a
huge crowd of devoted fans and the media.
Source: Groundhog.org & Pagroundhog.com
Find these words related
to Punxsutawney Phil
Can you figure out which
words are hiding here?
The Official Site of the Punxsutawney
Beginning with the Groundhog Event Schedule, this site has many great ideas on how to celebrate
this unique holiday. In
Pennsylvania they have dances, wedding ceremonies, ice carving contests, sleigh
rides, art shows, a woodchuck whittle carving show, a food festival, family fun
night, a media mixer, a banquet, and show times for the movie Groundhog Day.
Learn the history of Groundhog Day, start your own club chapter (they
are as far reaching as Silicon Valley, California), read about Punxsutawney or
purchase official souvenirs. There
is a special activities section for kids with pages to printout and color,
puzzles, mazes, word searches, and songs.
Parents and teachers will also find a list of fun games to play to
celebrate the holiday.
Color Phil the
Source: Punxsutawney Groundhog Club
This particular site has
special photos from previous celebrations, tips for visiting, and Phil's forum
where you can post a question.
Learn about the community of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania or visit the
interactive fun zone. This special
section devoted to kids has a link to say hello to Phil and his fans and free
post cards to send to your friends.
There is even a Groundhog Translator where you can take an English
phrase and turn it into the language of groundhogs. "Ask the Groundhog" will make predictions about your future
and be sure to stop by the page of Groundhog Impostors, where you can learn who
is trying to steal Phil's fame.
Source: Alan Freed and the
staff of OnTV, Pittsburgh
Visit this community web
site for Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
Learn what it's like to live there, places to go when you visit,
businesses in the area and Punxsutawney development (with links to the Industrial
park). View the community calendar
of events or visit the Chamber of Commerce and the Official Groundhog Club.
Source: Punxsutawney Area
Chamber of Commerce
Welcome to Phil's Digital
Den where you can view a photo gallery with photos of cyber-Phil as he travels
through Pennsylvania and New York to spread the news about the upcoming
Groundhog Day. You can also view
the web-cast where Phil made his prediction of 2/2/2001 amongst revelers. Visit Punxsutawney or learn the
complete history of this holiday.
Phil's Digital Den