This is what I found on RD.COM:
Every year on February 2, crowds gather at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to watch a groundhog emerge for the day. You know the drill—if he sees his shadow, bad news: There will be six more weeks of winter. But if he doesn’t see a shadow, spring is right around the corner. In reality, groundhogs don’t make the best meteorologists, and poor Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t have a great track record (as of 2016, he’d made the right call just 39 percent of the time, according to Stormfax). So how did the bizarre tradition of Groundhog Day get its start? Here are other famous animals that changed history.
The roots of Groundhog Day aren’t as random as they might seem. The beginning of February marks the halfway point between winter solstice (the shortest day of the year) and spring equinox (when night and day are about the same length). Pagans would celebrate February 1 or 2 with a festival of light to mark the start of spring. Gaelic legend says that if the goddess Cailleach wanted a long winter, she’d make the day bright so she’d have sunlight to gather more firewood. But a dreary day she’d stayed in because spring was on its way.
Medieval Christians adapted the festival and handed out candles. The feast day falls 40 days after Christmas, marking the end of the period when Jewish tradition would have considered Jesus’ mother unclean after giving birth. She would have been allowed to worship in the Temple again, so February 2 is also considered the day that baby Jesus would have been presented there for the first time. One old English song connects the day to the weather:
“If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again.”
Information provided by RD.COM.
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