Happy Groundhog Day! | News
Both Birmingham Bill and Punxsutawney Phil may have predicted another six weeks of winter today, but it's a little hard to believe when it feels so much like spring outside. All the hype over a little hog's shadow led me to wonder a bit about the origin of Ground Hog Day and do a little online digging.
Apparently, the holiday was first referenced by name in America 1841 in the diary of a Pennsylvania man named James Morris. He wrote about the German tradition of a watching for a groundhog's shadow on Candlemas Day, Feb. 2, to determine the weather forecast for the next weeks of winter, according to an article on MentalFloss.com.
Records for Punxsutawney Phil's prediction of the weather date back to 1887 and show that he was correct about the weather only 39 percent of the time.
Another local groundhog, Hugo of Helena, had a different prediction today from both Punxsutawney Phil and Birmingham Bill--he did not see his shadow, so it seems that spring will arrive early for those living in Helena!
But whether you were holding out for an extension of winter or are glad that today's pleasant temperatures and sunshine could be a sign of an early spring, Groundhog Day can still be a fun holiday to celebrate. Here's a link to a video from the Birmingham Zoo showing how to make groundhog cupcakes (using chocolate and Almond Joys, not real groundhogs): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdUf8ea1HNo
And you can always watch, or re-watch, Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day, which brought more public attention to the Pennsylvania tradition of watching Punxsutawney Phil. (Here's the a link to the trailer.)
However you chose to celebrate, may Groundhog Day 2012 be a great one!