Throwback Thursday: Groundhog Day

Spring is coming early! Of course, you could have figured out as much just by walking outside. But the Groundhog Day results are in as of Tuesday morning, and now it’s official. So prepare to repeat Monday’s 60 degree weather in the near future, because the groundhogs have made their decisions and are in agreement: winter, if you could even call it that this year, will be ending early. This week, we at Jumbo Beat thought we would do a Throwback Thursday to the original Groundhog Day celebrations (reblog if you’re a real 90’s kid for this one—1890’s that is).

Groundhog Day, known previously as Candlemas, was essentially a bunch of different holidays in several European countries, and it was celebrated for a long while before officially making its way over to the US. In each of these countries, on February 2nd, they would rely on different animals to take out their magic orb and predict the future. The magic orb, in this case, was the sun, and if they couldn’t find it, spring would come early. Or so they claimed. Some areas used bears, which, to be perfectly honest, seems like a less safe alternative to our local, friendly Punxsutawney Phil. Other areas used more practical animals, like badgers.

Along with other cool things, the Germans were the ones to bring Groundhog Day to the United States in the 1800s. Back then, however, it was far more sinister. Groundhogs were the food of choice for many, and the Punxsutawney Elks Lodge would host Groundhog Day along with a summertime groundhog hunt to feast on the fortune-tellers. Groundhog Day has been in place since 1887 there, and it has only gained more popularity since then, especially after the beloved movie Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray—a year-round classic for some of us here at Jumbo Beat who love Bill. 

Despite all the hype though, Punxsutawney Phil only has a 39% success rate when it comes to predicting the weather, a statistic more worthy of a local weatherman. Basically, you’d have a better-than-average chance of predicting the weather if you do the opposite of whatever Phil says. As a messiah, he’s fairly unreliable.

So #TBT to 1887 and celebrate Groundhog Day next year with some more enthusiasm. Rent a groundhog onesie, celebrate with a cake, or just acknowledge the existence of this strange and ritualistic holiday by watching the movie. There’s really no wrong way to celebrate, but have some fun with it and maybe use this trivia in some battle of wits in the near future.

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