Groundhog Day Celebrates 135th Anniversary in 2021

Groundhog Day Celebrates 135th Anniversary in 2021

Groundhog Day, celebrated across the United States and Canada, on February 2, is purely a North American tradition. It is based on a belief that on this day the groundhog, or woodchuck, comes out of his hole after winter hibernation to look for its shadow. If the shadow is seen, it’s a sunny day, and if not the groundhog foretells six more weeks of winter weather. If no shadow is seen due to cloudy weather, by our rodent friend spring is coming. The groundhog then behaves accordingly, going back into the hole if the weather turns bad, but stays above ground if spring is near.

This tradition was started when in 1723, the Delaware Indians settled Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania as a campsite halfway between the Allegheny and the Susquehanna Rivers. The Delawares considered groundhogs honorable ancestors. According to the original creation beliefs of the Delaware Indians, their forebears began life as animals on “Mother Earth” and emerged centuries later to hunt and live as men. The name Punxsutawney comes from the Indian name for the location “ponksad-uteney” which means “the town of the sandflies.” The name woodchuck comes from the Indian legend of “Wojak, the groundhog” considered by them to be their ancestral grandfather.

 

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