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What the heck is Groundhog Day anyway?

A groundhog being a groundhog.

Wikimedia
First of all, what the hell is a groundhog? A groundhog is a mammal that is also known as a woodchuck or a land-beaver. They are essentially really big squirrels. Because of their natural habitat groundhogs are covered in two layers of fur (according to the internet).
Second of all what is Groundhog day in a nutshell? Groundhog Day is a primarily American holiday during which a groundhog determines the weather.
The procedure of Groundhog Day is simple: take one groundhog, put it in a hole, wait until February 2nd, watch the ground hog come out of it’s hole and see what it does. If it sees its shadow, you’ve got six more weeks of winter, if it doesn’t see its shadow spring is here!
But really, anyone with a sixteenth of a brain will tell you that the idea of spring coming early in February is ridiculous.
Groundhog Day has roots in early 18th century Pennsylvanian Dutch culture and even deeper roots in ancient European weather myths. The primary ancient myth involves a bear or badger emerging from hibernation and determining the arrival of winter depending on whether or not it saw its shadow.
The tradition, which according to research has about a 37% success rate in predicting the weather, has stuck iself (seeminyly forever) in American culture, and continues to draw attention every year.

Just in case you were wondering, there are in fact six weather-predicting groundhogs currently in use today.
Matt Lee is a Web Producer for Metro.US and specializes in writing about everything and anything. Talk to him on twitter so he doesn't feel lonely at@mattlee2669.

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