On Groundhog Day, How Often Has Punxsutawney Phil Been Right?

What is the history of Groundhog Day?

The ancient Romans celebrated the tradition on Feb. 5, but instead of looking for groundhogs to make a prediction, 

they used hedgehogs, according to groundhog experts. There weren’t any groundhogs in Europe.

The date changed to Feb. 2 after the fall of the Roman Empire and was rolled into a Christian tradition called Candlemas.

That involved people lighting candles and putting them in their window or church to honor the Virgin Mary.

Germans, however, continued using hibernating animals to predict the end of winter.

How did Groundhog Day start in the U.S.?

German immigrants imported the tradition in the 1700s when they settled in what is now Pennsylvania. 

Without hedgehogs, the German settlers turned to groundhogs to make the weather predictions.

In Punxsutawney, the townsfolk gathered at Gobbler’s Knob in 1887, a wooded area about two miles out of town,

to mark the start of the town’s first official Groundhog Day celebration, according to the Punxsutawney event’s organizers. 

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