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Groundhog Day

Hey Sparkles! Happy Family Friday! Next week is Groundhog Day, so I thought that I would write today’s Family Friday blog post on this interesting holiday.

Legend has it that on the morning of February 2, if a groundhog can see its shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If it cannot see its shadow, then spring is on the way.

This silly tradition started in the mid-1800s with Germans who immigrated to Pennsylvania. In the 1880s some friends in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, went into the woods on Candlemas Day to look for groundhogs. This outing became a tradition, and a local newspaper editor nicknamed the seekers “the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.”

Starting in 1887 the search became an official event centered on a groundhog called Punxsutawney Phil. A ceremony still takes place every year.

Today, Punxsutawney Phil lives in a climate-controlled habitat adjoining the Punxsutawney Library. He is now a local celebrity. He has also gained national fame in the 1993 movie Groundhog Day (which was shot in scenic Woodstock, Illinois). The weather-watching rodent’s predictions are recorded in the Congressional Records of our National Archive. So far, Phil has seen his shadow about 85% of the time.

However, this superstition has a grain or two of truth in it. The first grain of truth is that when these rodents come out of hibernation, it means spring is on the way. Also, the winter days when you can see your shadow clearly are often especially cold, because there are no clouds overhead to insulate the earth. It is also windier when there are no clouds.

Well, that’s all I have for you today, Sparkles. If you are interested in the 1993 movie Groundhog Day, you can buy the DVD on Amazon here. I made a t-shirt for this holiday as well. You can buy it here. Keep a lookout in your email for news about an upcoming sale on all things made by The Sparkler long-sleeved. Thanks for reading, and Sparkles away!

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