(Chelsea and her groundhog)
Happy Candlemas To You
What does a sleepy, furry marmot have to do with seasonal change? According to fans of Punxsutawney Phil, everything! Their enthusiasm for Groundhog Day is undeniable, but to discover how it all fits together, we'll have to do a little digging.
Groundhog Day is a direct descendent of Candlemas, which, for early Christians, was a day to bless and distribute candles—a hot commodity in the days before electric light, especially during the cold, dark winter. Seasonal Affective Disorder notwithstanding, the early Christians found a way to make the dismal season a bit cheerier: they decided that clear skies on Candlemas Day meant a longer winter. There may have been some wagering; there was probably a certain amount of partying. By the time this tradition reached Germany, the groundhog and his shadow had entered the story. When the Germans came to Pennsylvania, they brought their traditions—including the marmot—with them. The quirky fun developed into what we now celebrate as Groundhog Day. But where does Punxsutawney Phil fit in?
In 1887, a spirited group of groundhog hunters from Punxsutawney dubbed themselves "The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club." One member of the club was an editor of Punxsutawney's newspaper. Using his editorial clout, he proclaimed Punxsutawney Phil, the local groundhog, to be the one and only official weather prognosticating groundhog. He issued this proclamation on, appropriately enough, Groundhog Day. Punxsutawney Phil's fame began to spread, and newspapers from around the globe began to report Punxsutawney Phil's Groundhog Day predictions. Today, 20,000 fans come to Punxsutawney on Groundhog Day to experience this unique—and fun—tradition. In the spirit of Candlemas blessings and cheer! As for Mr. Groundhog he has spoken, six more weeks of winter, although, at least in mind spring is just around the corner,yeah!!!
Happy Candlemas to you! Ruby Rene'