02/02/2012 08:43 am ET | Updated Apr 03, 2012

Where Did Groundhog Day Come From?

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, which apparently means there's six more weeks of winter. But who decided we should trust a Pennsylvania rodent with weather prognostication?

You might think it's about the animal, but no, any hibernating animal will do just as well.

The real reason Groundhog Day is celebrated on February 2nd is that it is close to the midpoint of winter, halfway between the solstice and the equinox, and for pre-industrial societies (particularly farmers), the midwinter date was a day to take stock and determine whether you have enough food and firewood to last the rest of the winter.

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