On this day in 1887, residents in Pennsylvania first celebrated Groundhog Day by luring one of the furry creatures out of its burrow as a predictor of how much longer winter would last. Legend has it that if the groundhog sees its shadow, it will get scared and retreat for another six weeks of winter weather. If it doesn’t see its shadow, spring weather will come soon.
The tradition has its roots in the ancient Christian holiday of Candlemas on February 2, which commemorate the date that Jesus was presented at the Temple. To mark the occasion, religious leaders would bless and distribute candles that would be needed for the rest of the winter. The candles represented how much longer and colder the winter would be.
An old English folk song described the tradition of Candlemas:
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.
In Germany, the concept of Candlemas was broadened to use a hedgehog as a predictor of how much longer winter would last, according to History.com. When Germans settled in America, they switched from a hedgehog to a groundhog that was more common in the area.
As the tradition grew more popular, several cities began to compete over whose groundhog would be the “official” groundhog that determined how much longer winter would last.
In 1887, a newspaper editor in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, started a campaign to declare their local groundhog, named Phil, the preeminent weather forecaster.
The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club now hosts a full week of events and celebrations leading up to Groundhog Day, and thousands of spectators come to Gobbler’s Knob to see Punxsutawney Phil emerge from his burrow.
Whether or not Phil sees his shadow this year, don’t let the short days of winter and the colder temperatures drain your energy. Give your body a natural energy boost and strengthen your immune system by eating healthy foods and drinking beverages with vitamins and minerals.
Our favorite way to stay healthy is NADI rosehip drink, which provides 135% of your daily Vitamin C needs. It also has antioxidants, bioflavonoids, polyphenols and dozens of essential vitamins and nutrients that will keep your body going strong all winter long.