Here in Pennsylvania, we’ve given a groundhog celebrity status.
But he’s not just any old groundhog. On February 2, all eyes will be on the prognosticator of prognosticators, Punxsutawney Phil.
Phil has been sharing his weather predictions every Groundhog Day with the public for going on 134 years (never mind that the average groundhog lives to be about 7 years old), but the beginnings of this seemingly hilarious holiday go back even further. The roots go back to Candlemas Day, an early Christian holiday that also served as an occasion to predict what the weather had in store.
And old English rhyme reads:
“If Candlemas Day is clear and bright,
Winter will have another bite.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter is gone and will not come again.”
The tradition originated in Germany, where they would wake up a badger or hedgehog to see if he saw his shadow. Early German Pennsylvania settlers took the idea and simply replaced the meteorological rodent at its center.
By 1886, The Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper dubbed the day “Groundhog Day.” The following year, The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club was formed and the annual celebration at Gobbler’s Knob began.
Groundhog Day is a popular holiday in Pennsylvania, but we can thank Bill Murray’s 1993 film Groundhog Day for expanding its reach, and likely contributing to its continued popularity and success.
Of course, if you can’t make it to Punxsy this Feb. 2, you can always celebrate at home with a batch of these festive groundhog beauties. Legend has it, that if you pull one from the cookie jar, and you see its shadow, that means six more weeks of winter ahead.
And if that’s the case, you might as well eat another cookie!
Groundhog Day cookies
- Chocolate Stroopwafels (or other medium-sized round chocolate cookies)
- Nilla wafers
- Mini Oreos (or Mini Oreo Thins)
- Chocolate or black icing
- White icing
- Candy eyeballs
- Chocolate jimmies (sprinkles)
- Pink or red jelly beans
- Use chocolate icing to fix two Nilla wafers to the Stroopwafel. Smear more icing across the top 1/4 of the cookie. Sprinkle with jimmies to make “fur.”
- Dot more icing on the backs of the Oreos and attach to the Stroopwafel to make ears.
- Use more icing to attach candy eyeballs above Nilla wafer snout. Then dot jelly bean with icing and attach to the snout for a nose.
- Last, but not least, what’s a Groundhog without buck teeth?Use white icing to draw to teeth sticking out the wafers toward the bottom.
- Happy Groundhog Day!