By: Paige Edwards
Groundhog Day is coming quick. With that also comes the answer, will we have more winter or is spring right around the corner? Groundhog Day is celebrated each year on February 2 in Punxsutawney, PA, just a two hour drive from Russell. A long-standing tradition, Groundhog Day features the groundhog, Phil, predicting the weather. A common debate involves people’s superstitions about whether Phil actually does tell the truth.
Groundhog Day originates from the Christian holiday Candlemas day, when Christians would take their candles to church to have the clergy bless them, according to www.groundhog.org. The candles would represent how long and how cold the winter would be. The Germans expanded on this holiday by using a hedgehog to predict the winter weather. As the Germans settled in Pennsylvania they continued the tradition, but they had to switch from the hedgehog to a groundhog, which are very plentiful all throughout PA. This year will mark the 134th Groundhog Day celebration.
There are many things to do in Punxsutawney during Groundhog Day. Festivities start January 3 and go until February 2. For starters, on February 1, there is a wine tasting at the Clearfield fair grounds. Some of the top attractions are Gimmicks Restaurant for breakfast, Mahoning Shadow trail for a nice hike through the woods, Little Mahoning Creek pottery, where you can look at and buy hand crafted pottery, Gobblers Knob trail for some outdoor exploring, and Gobblers Knob to see where Phil makes his annual prediction. The ceremony starts at 3 am and lasts until 8 am on February 2. Also, there is a chainsaw carving and a birthday party for Punxsutawney Phil.
The Squire did some Instagram polls about Groundhog Day. The questions that we asked were: Do you think the groundhog will see his shadow? And do you think the groundhog’s predictions are correct? 54% of people think that the groundhog will see his shadow and 46 % of people said he will not. If the groundhog sees his shadow, the legend has it that there will be six more weeks of winter. 76% of people say that the groundhog’s predictions are not correct and 24% of people think that he is correct. According to livescience.com, Phil makes the accurate prediction 50% of the time.
This holiday has quite a bit of history behind it, starting many years ago with Candlemas Day. Also, there are many fun things to do in Punxsutawney the week of the Groundhog Day. In all reality, the best part about this holiday is that it is just a fun way to get your mind off winter and get you into some spring thinking!
On February 2, 2020 the groundhog did not see his shadow! This is a sign that spring is just around the corner. Good luck to the spring season of 2020 everyone, and make sure to be thankful to Punxsutawney Phil for the early spring prediction.