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History of Groundhog Day

From Shubenacadie Sam in Nova Scotia to Wiarton Willie in Ontario and Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania, groundhogs are the centre of attention as we eagerly await their predictions of six more weeks of winter or an early spring. But where did the tradition come from?

It stems from a Pennsylvania Dutch superstition. The weather lore was brought to North America by German-speaking areas where the badger is the animal of choice for its forecasting capabilities.

Groundhog Day in the United States first occurred in German communities in Pennsylvania.

According to tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole on Groundhog Day and sees its shadow, it gets scared and runs back into its burrow, predicting six more weeks of winter weather. But if the groundhog does not see its shadow it means an early spring.

The groundhogs have been wrong as often as they have been right. Regardless of the outcome, spring officially arrives on March 20 at 7:54 pm NDT.


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