1. Partly sunny this Groundhog Day, with a high in the mid-40s. Sunrise is at 7:02 a.m. and sunset at 5:07 p.m. in .
2. The origins of Groundhog Day, according to groundhog.org (can you believe it??), supposedly started with the ancient Romans, who brought the notion with them in their conquest of Scotland.
“Candlemas Day” – Feb. 2, the midpoint of winter – is halfway between the shortest day of the year and the spring equinox. In ancient times, people celebrated the increased strength of the sun, heralding the coming of spring.
Later, the festival of Candlemas commemorated the ritual purification of Mary, 40 days after the birth of Jesus, according to Project Britain.
An old English song predicted:
If Candlemas be fair and bright
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and not come again.
Germans moving into Pennsylvania found groundhogs in abundance. Figuring that the groundhog was an intelligent animal, and would understand the whole Candlemas thing, they began the tradition of using the groundhog to forecast the rest of the winter.
3. According to the Farmers' Almanac, the groundhog is also known as the woodchuck. It is a type of marmot, a large rodent related to a squirrel.
4. The average groundhog moves approximately 710 pounds of dirt when digging its burrow. Burrows can be up to 46 feet long and up to 5 feet underground.
5. According to Stormfax, the groundhog is right in its Groundhog Day predictions only 39 percent of the time!