Being Groundhog Day, you may be curious why this particular animal got such attention to deserve its own holiday. The answer may surprise you why German immigrants decided upon this creature that plagues most gardens as appropriate to celebrate each February 2 as the official weather authority and predictor of how long winter will last or come to an end when they began that tradition in 1887.
According to German tradition, there was a holiday called Candlemas Day that was in between winter and spring that badgers were used to do the honors of foretelling whether spring was approaching or just more winter, depending if it saw its shadow. If the shadow was apparent, then it signaled signs of winter still continuing.
Given this, you may be wondering then why don’t we have Badger Day instead? The reason is because that those early Germans in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania didn’t have access to badgers as they once it. After all, badgers aren’t native to eastern Pennsylvania. Therefore, they settled for the next best local replacement with the groundhog.
Still, this doesn’t answer the question of why make such a fuss over a groundhog for such notoriety. Well, there is a hint of science to it since the groundhog is a true hibernator. What this means is the body temperature of these little guys drops 62 degrees until they are ready to come out of their holes. If that is not amazing in itself, their heartbeats and breathing during hibernation slows considerably to a fraction of its former rate.
Despite all the special powers that the groundhog also referred to as the woodchucks possess, the ability to predict weather is not one of them. As fun as it is watching this February 2 superstar emerge, there are far more accurate ways of predicting weather.