Columbus Dispatch: Who Knew? | Does the Lore Surrounding Groundhogs, Shadows and Winter Hold Any Truth?

I told you those crazy Pennsylvanian rodents can’t be trusted. Not the case with those wise Ohio rodents like Buckeye Chuck.

1aa-whoknew07---feb--7-art-ggr10bnoa-1groundhog-standingUpon their arrival during the 1700s in Pennsylvania, German settlers had a tradition known as Candlemas Day — at the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. With the occurrence of fair weather, according to the superstition, the second half of winter promised to be cold and stormy. For early Christians in Europe, the custom on Candlemas Day had involved clergy blessing candles and distributing them in the dark of winter, with a lighted candle placed in each window of a home…

The official recognition of Groundhog Day began on Feb. 2, 1886, with a proclamation in The Punxsutawney Spirit. The first of a series of groundhogs was named “Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary” and his hometown called the “Weather Capital of the World.” His forecasting accuracy, however, ranks as low: 39 percent.

Read it all.