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Ask Doctor English
Your ESL and English language learning specialist. Ask Dr. English whatever you like about the English language.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


In Canada and in the United States of America, February 2 is Groundhog day. The history of Groundhog Day came from a German tradition called Candlemas Day. On this day, midway between winter and spring, the weather would determine how the rest of the winter would be.

If the sun were shining, it meant that you could see your shadow. In Germany, if a badger or hedgehog had a shadow, it meant 6 more weeks of winter. If he didn’t see his shadow, it would mean an early spring. In North America, a groundhog was used in a similar way to predict the weather.

The most famous groundhog is Punxsutawney Phil. Every year, thousands of people go to Pennsylvania, the home of Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog day, to watch whether or not he sees his shadow. In Canada, the most famous groundhog is Wiarton Willie. Willie did not see his shadow this morning, therefore predicting an early spring :)

If you would like more information, please email Doctor English with your questions at drenglish@vec.ca


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