According to Punxsutawney Phil we are going to have an early spring; and in honor of this fuzzy meteorologist we will be offering 20% off select sweatshirts for those cool spring mornings.
Not to take anything away from Mr. Phil and his importance in being able to predict the weather, but I have to wonder, how in the heck this day ever came to be and how often is he right? Well according to History.com the first Ground hog Day was celebrated at
Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, PA in 1887. While this is one of the first times a rodent was used in the USA to predict the weather, this day actually has roots in the ancient Christian tradition of Candlemas Day. On this day, clergy would bless and distribute candles to the people; below is an old English song they would recite:
If Candlemas be fair and bright, Come, Winter, have another flight; If Candlemas brings clouds and rain, Go Winter, and come not again.
This tradition made its way down to the Germans who concluded that if the sun made an appearance on Candlemas day (Candlemas be fair and bright) then an animal, the hedgehog, would cast a shadow predicting 6 more weeks of winter. When the Germans immigrated to the United States they found the ground hog to be similar to the hedgehog used in their native land… and this is why the groundhog now has his own day.
How accurate is Phil at predicting the weather? Well this would depend on what part of the country you live in, of course. So, to be fair to Phil we will only consider the history of the weather from his hometown of Punxsutawney. According to the StormFax Almanac, Phil has been correct 39% of the time… not so good… but probably not much worse than some of our current meteorologists :)