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History of Groundhog's Day
By Mike P. & Beth E.
Groundhog Day first began as Hedgehog Day, but when the settlers came to North America there were no Hedgehogs.
Since groundhogs' behaviour is similar to the behaviour of hedgehogs they decided to use groundhogs instead. Early
settlers would hope for signs of an early spring because they wanted to start planting their crops so they could
shorten the time to harvest. The settlers wanted the groundhog to emerge out of it's burrow and stay out as an
early sign of spring, but what settlers did not know, is that the groundhog sleeps later than the hedgehog and
it is doubtful that it would come out in the middle of winter on Feb. 2.
According to legend the groundhog will emerge from it's burrow and predict when winter will end. If the sun is
shining and the groundhog sees it's shadow, it will get scared and go back in it's burrow and there will be six
more weeks of winter. If there is no sun and the groundhog does not see it's shadow he will stay out and spring
will come early. Some people think that watching for groundhogs is a very reliable way of predicting when spring
comes. Others believe that groundhogs can't really tell. Scientist say that the groundhog is only right about 30%
of the time.
February 2nd each year, according to rural American tradition the groundhog emerges from its burrow where it has
been hibernating to discover whether or not cold weather will continue. Groundhog day is based on custom brought
from Germany and England. Some people believe
that animals can predict the weather.
Happy Hedgehog Day
Before the holiday groundhog day was around, people were
celebrating Hedgehog day. It all started when the Roman's observed that the hedgehog hibernated, and started the
myth that if the hedgehog sees it's shadow there will be six more weeks of cold weather. It was the light of the
moon that caused the shadow to appear because the hedgehogs are nocturnal.
Over the next 15 centuries, the hedgehog myth faded, although the hedgehog continued to appear in literature, coins,
and later stamps.Even though the hedgehog myth faded, it reappeared in North America.
Punxsutawney Pennsylvania is known for groundhog day. Each year people from Punxsutawney gather on February 2nd
to see what Punxsutawney Phil will predict.
The groundhog's weather forecast is announced throughout the U.S. Will the groundhog come out and stay out, or
will we have six more weeks of winter?
Groundhog Day in Wiarton
There is a celebration in Wiarton, Ontario, Canada similar to the one in Punxsutawney. Wiarton Willie, an albino
groundhog, comes out of it's burrow on February 2. Willie has an unfailing ability to successfully predict when
spring will come! Willie maintains his figure with corn chips and salsa.
by Beth E. & Mike P.