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If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again.


History of Groundhog Day

The holiday, which began as a Pennsylvania German custom in southeastern and central Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries, has its origins in ancient European weather lore, wherein a badger or sacred bear is the prognosticator as opposed to a groundhog. The holiday also bears some similarities to the medieval Catholic holiday of Candlemas. In addition, it resembles the Pagan festival of Imbolc, the seasonal turning point of the Celtic calendar, which is celebrated on February 1 and also involves weather prognostication.

For early Christians in Europe, Candlemas was a day to bless and distribute candles. It was at the mid-point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.  Early Christians decided that clear skies on Candlemas Day meant a longer winter was ahead, while a cloudy day foreshadowed the end of winter. 

According to the English version:
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again.

In 1723, the Delaware Indians settled Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.  It was a campsite halfway between the Allegheny and the Susquehanna Rivers. The name Punxsutawney comes from the Indian name for the location “ponksad-uteney” which means “the town of the sand flies.” When the Germans came to America in the 1700s and settled in Pennsylvania, they brought their tradition of Candlemas and introduced the tradition of an animal seeing its shadow into the prediction of the weather on that day.  In Germany, a badger had been used, but a suitable replacement in America was the groundhog.

In 1886, Clymer H. Freas, city editor of the Punxsutawney Spirit Newspaper was inspired by a local tradition of hunting and barbecuing groundhogs and dubbed the participants the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. Using his editorial clout, he proclaimed Punxsutawney Phil, the local groundhog, to be the one and only official weather forecasting groundhog.  He issued this proclamation on, appropriately enough, Groundhog Day, February 2nd.  Punxsutawney Phil’s fame began to spread, and newspapers from around the globe began to report Punxsutawney Phil’s Groundhog Day predictions. Today, over 20,000 fans come to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on Groundhog Day.http://www.weather.gov/lmk/groundhog_day_lmk
https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/news/groundhog-day-forecasts-and-climate-history

Groundhog Phil predicts more cold weather, Chuck says spring is coming 
Posted:Fri, 02 Feb 2018 11:12:05 -0500
(Reuters) – Punxsutawney Phil, the weather-forecasting groundhog, emerged from his burrow in Pennsylvania on Friday, saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter, despite his rival Staten Island Chuck in New York predicting an early spring. http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/environment/~3/IGJ8F1iV5pk/groundhog-phil-predicts-more-cold-weather-chuck-says-spring-is-coming-idUSKBN1FM14L

Imbolc (Imbolg) ia also called (Saint) Brigid’s Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Bríde, Scottish Gaelic: Là Fhèill Brìghde, Manx: Laa’l Breeshey) and is a Gaelic traditional festival marking the beginning of spring:
Imbolc was traditionally a time of weather divination, and the old tradition of watching to see if serpents or badgers came from their winter dens may be a forerunner of the North American Groundhog Day.

A Scottish Gaelic proverb about the day is:

Thig an nathair as an toll
Là donn Brìde,
Ged robh trì troighean dhen t-sneachd
Air leac an làir.

The serpent will come from the hole
On the brown Day of Bríde,
Though there should be three feet of snow
On the flat surface of the ground.[34]

Imbolc was believed to be when the Cailleach—the divine hag of Gaelic tradition—gathers her firewood for the rest of the winter. Legend has it that if she wishes to make the winter last a good while longer, she will make sure the weather on Imbolc is bright and sunny, so she can gather plenty of firewood. Therefore, people would be relieved if Imbolc is a day of foul weather, as it means the Cailleach is asleep and winter is almost over.[35] At Imbolc on the Isle of Man, where she is known as Caillagh ny Groamagh, the Cailleach is said to take the form of a gigantic bird carrying sticks in her beak.[35]“. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imbolc