Groundhog Day was inspired by an old Scottish couplet: "If Candlemas Day is bright and clear/ There'll be two winters in the year."
The tradition of watching a groundhog to see if it sees its shadow reportedly began in 1887 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania by German settlers.
It was 1956 in Canada when Wiarton Willie was known throughout households for early February predictions of winter duration. Wiarton is a pretty town of 2,300 on the Bruce Peninsula between Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. There are other groundhogs across this country including Schubenacadie Sam in Nova Scotia,Wiarton Willie and Gary the Groundhog in Ontario, Brandon Bob in Manitoba and Balzac Billy in Alberta..
Groundhogs are actually woodchucks or marmots, and are members of the squirrel family. Quick facts from Cornell University:-Woodchuck and groundhog are common terms for the same animal.
-Scientific name: Marmota monax.
-Woodchucks can climb trees and also swim.
-Groundhogs in the wild eat green plants, such as dandelion greens, clover, plantain and grasses.
-They feed heavily in summer, storing fat for winter hibernation.
-By February, hibernating woodchucks have lost as much as half their body weight.
Tuck in folks for another six weeks of winter which, honestly, is at least as long as any other winter here!