According to folklore, if a groundhog sees it’s shadow on February 2nd, there are six more weeks of winter. Actually, there would be six more weeks of winter anyway, so that’s beside the point. Here is the forecast from Punxsutawny Phil in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The famous groundhog presented the news this morning at 6 a.m. Phil did see his shadow.
The tradition of Groundhog Day has its roots in Celtic and Pagan traditions. February 1 is the date that marks the movement of weather away from winter towards spring. The pagan festival Imbolc , celebrated on the 1st is similar to the Catholic holiday Candlemas that dates back to medieval times. As Christianity edged out pagan beliefs, some cultural traditions persevered.
Nowadays, through the changes of time, we have been left with the tale of the groundhog and his shadow. Besides asking Punxsutawney Phil for the winter weather forecast, you can ask Spanish Joe. Although, Punxsutawney Phil has made Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania the place to be on February 2 because it has the largest Groundhog Day celebration ever, Spanish Joe has a following.
Spanish Joe is the only psychic groundhog in Ontario, Canada. It is said he can predict what the weather in Canada will be like all year long. He’s called Spanish Joe because he lives in the town of Spanish. At first, when I read his name, I thought he’d be wearing a sombrero, but no–Spanish Joe looks like any other groundhog. Although, as the story goes, Spanish Joe became Spanish Joe only after he was run over by a Greenpeace protest bus. It’s an odd story, but not much more unusual than any other groundhog story connected to Groundhog Day.
For a snippet of another odd, but also hysterical story, here’s a clip from the movie Groundhog Day. The movie takes place in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on Groundhog Day over and over and over again, and was named by Stanley Fish of the New York Times as one of the 10 Best American Movies. Bill Murray is in top form in this one.
This is a scene well after Murray’s character finds out he’s living the same day over and over again. Part of the Groundhog Day Festival is shown. You have to love the polka music.