Thursday, February 2, 2012

Happy Groundhog Day!

Groundhog Day has its roots in Candlemas Day in Europe when early Christian clergy blessed candles and distributed them to people in the dark of Winter.  An old English saying had it that if Candlemas was fair and bright then Winter had another flight, but if Candlemas brought clouds and rain, then Winter would not come again.

Here in the US, the Delaware Indians had settled in an encampment known as Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania (about 90 miles north of Pittsburgh).  For the Delaware, groundhogs were honorable ancestors and they watched for them to see their shadow to predict the continuation of Winter.  The Germans had watched for a badger to predict the same and brought their traditions to America.  The two rituals have blended together into our modern day event of Groundhog Day.

The earliest American reference to Groundhog Day comes from 1841 and is taken from a Morgantown storekeeper’s diary.  James Morris’ diary can be found at the Pennsylvania Dutch Folklore Center at Franklin and Marshall College.  Morris says:

            “Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy re remains out, as the weather is to be moderate.”

So, today Punxsutawney Phil, as he is affectionately known, did see his shadow, so unfortunately, there will not be an early Spring.  On the plus side, Phil has only a 39% track record of being correct.  To read more about Groundhog Day or to know more about the making of the movie “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray, go to
Here in my sewing room, it is pleasant and bright.  I am working on a Quilt of Valor.  Today, I will be putting on an inner and outer border then I’ll turn it in at the group’s meeting tomorrow.
the tags on the left are row numbers so I could keep them in order!

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