Groundhog Day is an ancient tradition imbedded in folklore dating back to the 1800s in the U.S. and for centuries in Europe; the tradition is Germanic in origin. Man did have an ancient weather channel back then; it was nature itself, and the observance thereof to give mankind a sign of things to come. So when the groundhog was observed seeing his shadow and going back into his den six more weeks of winter would be expected, but if he did not return to his winter home spring was around the corner.
February 2 marks the middle of winter, perhaps Groundhog Day and its celebration was just what the rural farm community needed to get through the cold of winter, looking forward to spring.
In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania this ancient tradition has been keep alive by Groundhog Day Club’s Inner Circle. This year, on Feb. 2, tens of thousands gathered as the world watched the Groundhog Day Club’s Inner Circle march down the center of the crowd to make its 127th Annual Trek to Gobblers Knob.
The Club’s VP Jeff Lundy greeted the crowd, “I believe that this is the greatest number of followers I have ever seen.” He then began to preside over the day’s ceremony having the faithful take the Groundhog pledge: “I believe in the Seer of Seers the Prognosticator of Prognosticators, Punxsutawney Phil.”
Surrounded by his ‘Inner Circle,’ Punxsutawney Phil the Groundhog was then awakened by the tapping of the traditional cane three times. This cane is handed down to each Club’s President and kept only by him. Phil was then removed from his home in the oak tree stump where two scrolls, containing his two answer, one for six more weeks and one for an early spring. These had been placed atop for his choosing. He then communicated only to the President, this year it is Pres. Bill Deeley, who interpreted his groundhogese due to his possession of the ancient cane. A scroll was picked and then read by Inner Circle member Bob Roberts-His Protector:
Bob began to speak and told the crowd:
“Surrounded by his Inner Circle awaiting either six more weeks of winter or an early spring , Phil with his keen weather eye, gazed an inquisitive search to the Western Pennsylvania sky and…The scroll reads… ‘On this Feb. 2, 2013, the 127th Annual Trek of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club at Gobbler’s Knob….Punxsutawney Phil, the King of the Groundhogs, Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, Weather Prophet without Peer, was awakened from his borrow at 7:28 a.m. with a tap of the President’s cane.”
Phil and President Deeley conversed in Groundhogese and Phil directed him to the chosen Prognostication scroll. The President tapped the chosen scroll and directed Phil’s Prediction be proclaimed:
‘My new Knob entrance is a sight to behold
Like my faithful followers, strong and bold
And so ye faithful, there is no shadow to see
An early Spring for you and me.’
To learn more, join the Groundhog Day Club, or to watch the full Groundhog Day Web cast go to www.groundhog.org.