From the Official Punxsutawney Phil website:
On February 2, Phil comes out of his burrow on Gobbler's Knob - in front of thousands of followers from all over the world - to predict the weather for the rest of the winter.
The groundhog legend has European Roots.
(Adapted from "Groundhog Day: 1886 to 1992" by Bill Anderson)
Groundhog Day, February 2nd, is a popular tradition in the United States. It is also a legend that traverses centuries, its origins clouded in the mists of time with ethnic cultures and animals awakening on specific dates. Myths such as this tie our present to the distant past when nature did, indeed, influence our lives. It is the day that the Groundhog comes out of his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow.
If he sees it, he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole.
If the day is cloudy and, hence, shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.
The Groundhog History website says:
The name Punxsutawney comes from the Indian name for the location "ponksad-uteney" which means "the town of the sandflies."
The name woodchuck comes from the Indian legend of "Wojak,
the groundhog" considered by them to be their ancestral grandfather.
The earliest American reference to Groundhog Day can be found at the Pennsylvania Dutch Folklore Center at Franklin and Marshall College: February 4, 1841 - from Morgantown, Berks County (Pennsylvania) storekeeper James Morris' diary..."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 he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate."
Well.. no matter what the weather..enjoy the day!
By the way - today is also "Randsday"....
By Harry Binswanger
February 2nd is the birthday of Ayn Rand, the author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. Ayn Rand developed and defended Objectivism, a philosophy that advocates “rational selfishness.”
To celebrate Randsday, you do something not done on any other holiday: you give yourself a present. Randsday is for getting that longed-for luxury you ordinarily would not buy for yourself. Or for doing that long-postponed, self-pampering activity you cannot seem to fit into your chore-packed schedule.
Randsday is for reminding ourselves that pleasure is an actual need, a psychological requirement for a human consciousness. For man, motivation, energy, enthusiasm are not givens. Pathological depression is not only possible but rampant in our duty-preaching, self-denigrating culture. The alternative is not short-range, superficial “fun,” but real, self-rewarding pleasure. On Randsday, if you do something that you ordinarily would think of as “fun,” you do it on a different premise and with a deeper meaning: that you need pleasure, you are entitled to it, and that the purpose and justification of your existence is: getting what you want—what you really want, with full consciousness and dedication.
Randsday is the time to challenge any duty-premise, re-affirm your love of your values, and honor the principle that joy in living is an end in itself.
Have a selfish Randsday!
So be like the groundhog and go out today, and celebrate Randsday by doing something nice for yourself today too!