red dr martens Groundhog Day 2018 history
Groundhog Day is celebrated each year on Feb. 2, when people across the country wait to discover if a small furry rodent will predict an early spring or another six weeks of harsh winter weather.
For those of you who don’t know the science around the tradition, if the groundhog sees his shadow, winter will be around for a little while longer. However, if the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow, spring is on its way.
The tradition can be traced to Candlemas, an early Christian holiday. Those who celebrated Candlemas decided that clear skies on the holiday meant a longer winter.
The Germans eventually began to believe that if the sun made an appearance on Candlemas Day, a hedgehog would cast a shadow predicting six more weeks of winter.
When German immigrants arrived in Pennsylvania, they found a large number of groundhogs. So they decided that the groundhog, which resembles the European hedgehog, could predict the weather.
The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club was founded in Punxsutawney, Pa.,
in 1887 by a group of groundhog hunters. The editor of the Punxsutawney newspaper was a member of the club, and he claimed that Punxsutawney Phil was the only true weather predicting groundhog. Eventually the furry Pennsylvania rodent known as Punxsutawney Phil became famous.
Staten Island’s own groundhog Staten Island Chuck (real name Charles G. Hogg) has been making his prediction at the Staten Island Zoo for over three decades.
According to the Staten Island Zoo, Chuck has an almost 80 percent accuracy rate on his predictions. Although, he was incorrect last year when he called for an early spring.
Phil and Chuck disagreed last year, as Phil saw his shadow, calling for six more weeks of winter. on Friday, Feb. 2. Admission to the ceremony is free.
HOW ARE CHUCK’S PREDICTIONS MEASURED?
Local elementary school children are given the task of tracking how many days over the next six weeks are warmer, or atypical, for winter weather. A day when the temperature exceeds 40 degrees is considered atypical.
At the end of the six week period, if there are more atypical weather days than typical weather days, we got an early spring. If there are more typical weather days than atypical weather days, we got six more weeks of winter.