From Candles to Critters, Groundhog Day Continues to Thrill
While most people are familiar with the concept of Groundhog Day, this quirky holiday springs from often unsung origins. America’s initial Groundhog Day was celebrated on February 2, 1887; however, this day was the culmination of centuries of culture and tradition. Groundhog Day traces its origins to the ancient Christian festival of Candlemas Day. On Candlemas Day clergymen would bless the candles of their parishoners before the onset of brutal winter weather. Much like our modern celebration, the chain of events surrounding Candlemas Day allegedly determined the length of the winter. The German people were so fascinated by this tradition that they added a new facet to Candlemas Day, the involvement of a weather-forecasting animal. The hedgehog was originally used by Germans to attempt to predict the extremity of winter, but, when German settlers relocated to Pennsylvania, few hedgehogs could be found. Instead, these tenacious trendsetters turned to the abundant population of groundhogs dwelling in the New World, sparking a new tradition that has endured the tests of time and captured the curious attention of countless generations.
The information used in this blog was found at http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-groundhog-day and http://time.com/4650202/groundhog-day-history-2/. Click on these links to discover more about this holiday!