CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The first official Groundhog Day celebration was in Punxsutawney, Penn., in 1887. The holiday celebrates a groundhog coming out of its hole on Feb. 2 after a long winter sleep to look for its shadow.
If the groundhog sees its shadow, it takes it as a sign of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to its hole. If it doesn't see it, the groundhog takes it as a sign that spring is coming and stays above ground.
The most important groundhog on Groundhog Day is Punxsutawney Phil. He will come out of his burrow and look for his shadow At about 7:25 a.m. Sunday. Many news stations will cover this event, or you can watch a live feed at www.visitpa.com/articles/groundhog-day.
Though we hear about this holiday every year, how do we celebrate it?
One way is to try to predict what Punxsutawney Phil will do. Will he stay above ground or will he return to his hole? You can look at the weather forecasts for Sunday and beyond to see if the temperature is rising, and if it is, whether or not you think it will be high enough for Phil's standards.
Last year Phil saw no shadow and predicted an early spring. One of his handlers, Bob Roberts, reported, "And so ye faithful, there is no shadow to see, an early spring for you and me."
This year will be Punxsutawney Phil's 128th prediction. According to his website, www.groundhog.org, he has seen his shadow 100 times out of 117. (There were 10 times the outcome wasn't recorded.) You can see all the predictions there. Is there a pattern? Is he wrong? Make your prediction!
You also can watch the movie "Groundhog Day" to get you in the holiday mood. It is a great comedy classic that features Bill Murray as Phil Connors, a weatherman stuck reliving Feb. 2 over and over until he finally gets his life together. (You can see it on TV on the CMT channel at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.)
Listening to Eminem's song "Groundhog Day" is another way to celebrate. Be warned, though; there are explicit lyrics.
For a snack, have groundhog cookies! You can make them with Nutter Butters, chocolate chips, Red Hots, miniature marshmallows and white icing.
Start with the Nutter Butter, keeping in mind that you are only going to decorate half of it. (The other half is the body.) Then, add two dabs of icing for eyes and put chocolate chips on them. After that, add another dab for the nose, and put a Red Hot on that. Next, add two more dabs below the nose for his teeth, and put the marshmallows on them. Finally, at the very top, add dots of icing on each side for ears and put chocolate chips on them.If you want Groundhog Day cupcakes, you can bake chocolate cupcakes and cover them with green icing, then stick the bottom (undecorated) half of the groundhog cookies in the middle of each one, so it looks like the groundhog is popping up out of the ground.