Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania (JFK+50) Germans, the first settlers of Pennsylvania, brought from Europe the celebration of Candlemas Day. They said "For as the sunshines on Candlemas, So far will the snow swirl in May."
Their custom was to have clergymen bless candles and give them out to the people. From Candlemas came Groundhog Day when a groundhog emerges from his burrow and if he sees his shadow predicts six more weeks of winter.
February 2nd, 1886 was the first date of this annual event, but it was not until the following year when the trek was made to Gobbler's Knob here in Punxsutawney.
According to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, Punxsutawney Phil was awakened from his burrow at 7:28 this morning by his handlers, John Griffiths and Ron Ploucha, and after seeing his shadow communicated in "Groundhogese" the following...
"Forecasts abound on the internet, But I, Punxsutawney Phil, am still your best bet, Yes, a shadow I see, you can start to twitter, Hash Tag: Six More Weeks of Winter."
Punxsutawney Phil, who is 22 inches long and weighs in at 20 pounds, is described by the Washington Post as "the world's most beloved and furry seasonal prognosticator."
The lifespan of the average groundhog, a.k.a. woodchuck, is from 6 to 8 years, but Punxsutawney Phil (there has only been one in 186 years) is given a magical drink of punch every summer which extends his life another 7 years.
"Groundhog Day 2015: Punxsutawney Phil sees shadow, predicts six more weeks of winter," by Angela Fritz, February 2, 2015, www.washingtonpost.com/
The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, www.groundhog.org