Saturday is Groundhog Day

Published: Feb. 1, 2019 at 9:48 PM CST
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Are you looking for an early spring? Or maybe you want winter to carry on a bit longer? Coming up this weekend, the most famous weather prognostication will be taking place.

February 2nd is a significant day in several ancient and modern traditions. Interestingly, this day falls midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, an ideal time to begin thinking about the upcoming season of spring.

Over time, throughout parts of Europe, a day of celebration turned into a day of prediction. A sunny February 2nd meant another 40 days of cold and snow. The tradition grew to declare the day sunny only if badgers and other small animals saw their own shadows.

European immigrants to North America found a large number of groundhogs when they arrived, and so the groundhog was tasked with continuing this tradition and predicting the arrival of spring. The tradition is that, if a groundhog sees its shadow on February 2nd winter will last another six weeks. If he does not see his shadow, spring will arrive soon.

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