Happy Groundhog Day. Punxsutawney Phil apparently saw his shadow this morning, so batten down the hatches for another 6 weeks of chilly weather.
This annual tradition has a couple of connections to the Penn. Dutch. First, there happens to be a sizable Amish settlement in Clearfield County in the vicinity of Punxsutawney, PA (1,000+ people). I don’t know of any groundhog-related customs associated with this settlement (but maybe there’s a Baked Amish Groundhog ‘n’ Butter Noodles recipe I haven’t heard about?) so I think that is basically geographical coincidence.
Groundhog Day does have an interesting back story connected with Pennsylvania German society though:
Groundhog Day has origins in 18th-century Pennsylvania German culture. The custom’s roots supposedly reach even further to Europe, where there was a tradition of making weather predictions based on animal behavior, that of the badger in particular. A later development was the Groundhog (Grundsow) Lodge…
Read more about Grundsow Lodges and groundhogs.
Photo credit: groundhog.org