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Easter

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Easter

The Holiday that never seems to have the same date or even month. I was recently asked why is Easter so late this year. So to get the best answer possible I did some research on the Holiday. It all has to do with the moon. Below is some interesting information leading to this decision of just when Easter will fall each year.

Astronomical vs. Ecclesiastical Dates

In years in which the church’s March equinox and Paschal Full Moon dates do not coincide with the astronomical dates of these events, confusion about the date of Easter can arise. In 2019, for example, the March equinox in the Western Hemisphere happened on Wednesday, March 20, while the first Full Moon in spring was on Thursday, March 21 in many time zones. If the church followed the timing of these astronomical events, Easter would have been celebrated on March 24, the Sunday after the Full Moon on March 21.

However, the Full Moon date in March specified by the church’s lunar calendar, also called the ecclesiastical Full Moon, was March 20, 2019—one day before the ecclesiastical date of the March equinox, March 21. For that reason, the Easter date 2019 is based on the nextecclesiastical Full Moon, which is on April 18. This is why Easter 2019 falls on April 21.

Easter Traditions

  • DYEING EASTER EGGS.
  • Making Easter Baskets.
  • Cooking or attending an Easter dinner.
  • Easter egg hunts.
  • The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies!!!!
  • Dressing up.
  • and many, many more

When dyeing most Easter eggs we tend to use vinegar because that’s what the instructions tell us to do. Some of us will look for dye that doesn’t require vinegar because we can’t stand the smell. Some of us will avoid the mess all together and not dye eggs, and others will use the stickers or crayon method. Which ever you decide becomes a family tradition that gets passed down from generation to generation. And each year it brings up memories and makes you think of all the good times you have had with your family.

Cleaning Tip: Vinegar is not just for dyeing those eggs. You can also use it for cleaning. Vinegar’s acidity is what makes it such a good cleaner. Because vinegar is so acidic, it can counteract some icky buildups. It can dissolve away soap scum, brines left by hard water, and glue left behind by stickers. … A paste of vinegar and baking soda can dissolve set red wine stains.

National Flash Drive Day

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Did you know?

National Flash Drive Day on April 5 commemorates the date inventors filed their patent for the first USB Flash Disk. Their invention revolutionized the way we store and manage digital data!

As information flowed from our fingertips, the flash drive became the go-to storage device. Called by many names, the USB (universal serial bus) drive makes digital data more accessible than ever before. Today, we effortlessly store photos, transfer files and upload gigabytes. Not only that, but flash drives contribute to making the world a better place.

Making a Difference

By stretching budgets and services, these super functional devices make virtual classrooms possible. They provide access to information to parts of the world many of us take for granted. In third world and oppressed countries, flash drives go where the information superhighway cannot. Despite being classics to a majority of the population, books considered contraband become windows to the world around them. Comparatively, movies and radio recordings provide the same information to people in underdeveloped countries. In homeless communities, flash drives keep people connected by giving them access photos and a resumé; these items may be a lifeline of hope.

Tuck a few bytes into your pocket and celebrate National Flash Drive Day with a few new ways to appreciate the USB drive.

HOW TO OBSERVE

Whether you save pictures or back up files, consider how versatile the thumb drive is. Play a retro game or if you have extra devices, donate them to a good cause. Charities across the country deliver your donations to schools, homeless shelters, and nations in need.  Use #FlashDriveDay to join the excitement and spread the word about National Flash Drive Day.

 

Here’s a Tip: We talked about cleaning up your technology a few weeks ago. Go buy a couple flash drives (you can get some really cute ones these days) and download all those photos from your computer to one, then all your business files to another. Not only will this allow you to clean up your computer and free up all that space to make it run faster it will also give you that much needed back up that you love to have. While going through which items to remove from your computer to a flash drive you may come across some things you will no longer need ever. Go ahead and get rid of those items. Cleaning your computer can be very rewarding. If you aren’t good at this type of thing don’t be afraid to seek help.

National Scribble Day

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It’s national Scribble Day! Oh the mess that can be made while having fun scribbling. Go ahead and try it, scribbling on a piece of paper can release some built up frustration. Allow your little ones to scribble too. We try to focus on them staying in the lines when coloring or painting, and writing nicely all the time. Make that exception today and allow them to be silly and have some fun. Don’t stress if they make a mess there are ways to get crayon off practically anything by just scratching it away, ink can sometimes be a little more tricky to remove so here is a helpful cleaning hint to  remove ink from almost anything. Works wonders on wooden tables.

You Will Need:

Baking soda
Water
Soft cloths
Cotton balls
Rubbing alcohol (optional)

Steps to Remove the Stain:

Begin by mixing water and baking soda to form a paste.

Spread the paste over the ink stain and rub it in with your fingers. Baking soda can be slightly abrasive, so avoid scrubbing too hard or it may damage the finish.

Moisten a soft cloth with plain water and scrub the area as you remove the paste.

For larger stains, repeat the steps above until all of the ink is removed.

If a haze is left on the surface from the baking soda, wipe the area with a cotton ball moistened with a small amount of rubbing alcohol to remove.

Spring Cleaning Part 2

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Yup you guessed it! There’s more things to clean! Some of these things aren’t thought of as part of your regular spring cleaning. It’s always nice to look at things in someone else’s view because it will open up your eyes to new things. As a cleaning person myself I can visit different places and find things that people have over looked for some time. My parents are good ones for the computer won’t work. By not working they mean it’s running slow and or it keeps freezing, which brings me to more cleaning possibilities.

What about technology? Do you have a smart phone that keeps freezing, a computer that won’t load, or a tablet that it seems like every time you want to download something new it tells you there’s not enough space? Well whens the last time you have cleaned up these items? While we  all tend to take really good care of our electronics for the most part we really need to DE-junk them. Maybe you have thousands of pictures stored in your phone, screen shots even that you took of a new recipe you wanted to try or a new craft idea. You can back most of these items up to your cloud or google accounts and then delete them off your phone. I normally do this and then go through my storage once it’s on my google account and then delete items I don’t need. Maybe it was I took 20 pictures of my 3 year old just to get the perfect photo for that moment, but I really don’t need those 19 other photos. You may have games you downloaded to pass time but you haven’t played them much in the last month, go ahead and delete those to clear up space as well. What about files you may have saved on your computer for what ever reason? Delete them if you no longer need them. Once you have gone through and deleted everything you can think of run a system cleaner such as Clean Master and it will find more items that are hidden, or that you didn’t think about and will give you the option to delete those as well. I try to run this program on my systems every three months. Freeing up this space will help your device run faster, you may even feel like it’s brand new again.

Other things that you may not think about for your normal spring cleaning include your yard, your car, how about that garage! We all have those leaves that either waited until it was too cold to get or something came up and we just didn’t have the time. Now is the perfect time to go ahead and take care of those as well. You may have debris laying around your yard because that pesky raccoon decided to get into your trash or it may have blown there with all that 40 mph plus wind we’ve had recently. This also is the perfect time to inspect that patio furniture, It may be time for new, or you may need to make a couple simple repairs. now how about your car? I’m sure it could use a good cleaning both inside and out. Take advantage of these nice sunny days and detail the inside of your car. When it’s warm enough run it through a car wash to get all that rock salt and dirt off it. Speaking of cars, what’s that garage look like? Can you even park your car in it? Start in an area of the garage and eliminate items you may no longer need. If you are unsure leave it this time, when you do your next big clean if it still sits there untouched get rid of it. This is a perfect time to get all items together that may require you to call for a large trash pick up for your residence.

Once you have completed your new spring cleaning list you will feel better not only about yourself but also about everything around you. Just remember if you get to in over your head there are always services out there that will help you with all your needs.

 

Spring Cleaning Part 1

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Spring cleaning comes around each year. And during that time everyone scatters throughout their homes to find things they can throw away, and to deep clean other areas of the home that may have been over looked. Bathrooms, ovens, inside the refrigerator as well as those closets. All of these are good items to touch up on during your spring cleaning but I also want you to think about cleaning up things such as your Finances and your body.

While your finances may have taken a recent hit due to shopping for the holidays, the New Year or you just had to have the latest trend. Now is a good time to sit down and go over your finances and get things back in order. Have credit card debt? Call and set up a payment plan that will allow you to get back on track. Bills that have gone unpaid for whatever reason? Give them a call too, and get those in order as well. Maybe you were setting money aside for a savings account and you fell on hard times so you haven’t done that either. Do you constantly find yourself in a crunch when it comes to getting your finances in order? Reach out to someone and ask for help. This could be a family member, a co-worker, or maybe even speaking to an account. Don’t be afraid to see help to get your finances back in order. Everyone runs into a problem sooner or later.

Now lets’ talk about your body! We all know setting those New Year resolutions never stick. So let’s focus on that now. It is a perfect time to start treating your body better rather it’s a change in your diet, or getting some exercise (as easy as just going for a walk). Again this isn’t something that comes easy to a lot of people and if you don’t have the right support it can be hard. Try setting small goals for yourself such as today I’m going to pick an apple for a snack over this bag of chips, or instead of watching TV get up and go for a walk just a few blocks through your neighborhood will do. Soon your body will start to feel better because you have made that better choice and things will become a little simpler over time. Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor if you are struggling with something within yourself. Take time for yourself to decompress. This could be sitting in a quiet room, or even outside (warmer weather is coming I promise). No one will take care of you the way you should be taking care of yourself. Sometimes you have to put yourself before others so you can accomplish self-care.

A Sparkling Bathroom

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Here are some quick and easy tips to keep your bathroom sparkling.

Making Tiles Sing

Clean grout gives your whole bathroom a facelift. Hint – CLR Bath & Kitchen Cleaner erases stains and soap scum.

Rust Satins on Sinks and Bathtubs

Rust makes fixtures look old and worn. Never use bleach cleaner on the rust satins, it will help it set in. For light rust marks, saturate a cloth with lemon juice and apply. You can also use a paste made of lemon juice and salt to scrub rust satins away.

Rescue Tub Mats & Shower Curtains

You can toss mats and plastic curtains in the washer to remove gunk and mold. Wash on a gentle cycle and warm water. Adding bleach is safe. Tumble-dry liners on low for 2 – 3 minutes. Hint – To prevent mold, hang mats and spread liners to dry after use.

Let the Toilet Clean Itself

Add an in-tank cleaner and it will keep the bowl fresh for the daily use toilets. For the occasional used toilets, use a in-bowl version. Hint – Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Gel works for up to 7 days.

Switch Your Soap

Use a liquid or foaming soap with a pump or even a hands free dispenser to eliminate the goopy soap dish to keep your sink and countertop cleaner longer.

Presidents’ Day

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Presidents’ Day is an American holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, it is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government. Traditionally celebrated on February 22—Washington’s actual day of birth—the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers. While several states still have individual holidays honoring the birthdays of Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other figures, Presidents’ Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present.

Presidents’ Day: Origin as Washington’s Birthday

The story of Presidents’ Day date begins in 1800. Following President George Washington’s death in 1799, his February 22 birthday became a perennial day of remembrance. At the time, Washington was venerated as the most important figure in American history, and events like the 1832 centennial of his birth and the start of construction of the Washington Monument in 1848 were cause for national celebration.

While Washington’s Birthday was an unofficial observance for most of the 1800s, it was not until the late 1870s that it became a federal holiday. Senator Steven Wallace Dorsey of Arkansas  was the first to propose the measure, and in 1879 President Rutherford B. Hayes signed it into law. The holiday initially only applied to the District of Columbia, but in 1885 it was expanded to the whole country. At the time, Washington’s Birthday joined four other nationally recognized federal bank holidays—Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Independence Day and Thanksgiving—and was the first to celebrate the life of an individual American. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, signed into law in 1983, would be the second.

Presidents’ Day: The Uniform Monday Holiday Act

The shift from Washington’s Birthday to Presidents’ Day began in the late 1960s when Congress proposed a measure known as the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. Championed by Senator Robert McClory of Illinois this law sought to shift the celebration of several federal holidays from specific dates to a series of predetermined Mondays. The proposed change was seen by many as a novel way to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers, and it was believed that ensuring holidays always fell on the same weekday would reduce employee absenteeism. While some argued that shifting holidays from their original dates would cheapen their meaning, the bill also had widespread support from both the private sector and labor unions and was seen as a surefire way to bolster retail sales.

The Uniform Monday Holiday Act also included a provision to combine the celebration of Washington’s Birthday with Abraham Lincoln’s, which fell on the proximate date of February 12. Lincoln’s Birthday had long been a state holiday in places like Illinois, and many supported joining the two days as a way of giving equal recognition to two of America’s most famous statesmen.

McClory was among the measure’s major proponents, and he even floated the idea of renaming the holiday “President’s Day.” This proved to be a point of contention for lawmakers from George Washington’s home state of Virginia, and the proposal was eventually dropped. Nevertheless, the main piece of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act passed in 1968 and officially took effect in 1971 following an executive order from President Richard Nixon. Washington’s Birthday was then shifted from the fixed date of February 22 to the third Monday of February. Columbus Day, Memorial Day and Veterans Day were also moved from their traditionally designated dates. (As a result of widespread criticism, in 1980 Veterans’ Day was returned to its original November 11 date.)

Presidents’ Day: Transformation

While Nixon’s order plainly called the newly placed holiday Washington’s Birthday, it was not long before the shift to Presidents’ Day began. The move away from February 22 led many to believe that the new date was intended to honor both Washington and Abraham Lincoln, as it now fell between their two birthdays. Marketers soon jumped at the opportunity to play up the three-day weekend with sales, and “Presidents’ Day” bargains were advertised at stores around the country.

By the mid-1980s Washington’s Birthday was known to many Americans as Presidents’ Day. This shift had solidified in the early 2000s, by which time as many as half the 50 states had changed the holiday’s name to Presidents’ Day on their calendars. Some states have even chosen to customize the holiday by adding new figures to the celebration. Arkansas, for instance, celebrates Washington as well as civil rights activist Daisy Gatson Bates. Alabama, meanwhile, uses Presidents’ Day to commemorate Washington and Thomas Jefferson (who was born in April).

Washington and Lincoln still remain the two most recognized leaders, but Presidents’ Day is now popularly seen as a day to recognize the lives and achievements of all of America’s chief executives. Some lawmakers have objected to this view, arguing that grouping George Washington and Abraham Lincoln together with less successful presidents minimizes their legacies. Congressional measures to restore Washington and Lincoln’s individual birthdays were proposed during the early 2000s, but all failed to gain much attention. For its part, the federal government has held fast to the original incarnation of the holiday as a celebration of the country’s first president. The third Monday in February is still listed on official calendars as Washington’s Birthday.

Presidents’ Day: Celebrations and Traditions

Like Independence Day, Presidents’ Day is traditionally viewed as a time of patriotic celebration and remembrance. In its original incarnation as Washington’s Birthday, the holiday gained special meaning during the difficulties of the Great Depression, when portraits of George Washington often graced the front pages of newspapers and magazines every February 22. In 1932 the date was used to reinstate the Purple Heart, a military decoration originally created by George Washington to honor soldiers killed or wounded while serving in the armed forces. Patriotic groups and the Boy Scouts of America also held celebrations on the day, and in 1938 some 5,000 people attended mass at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City in honor of Washington.

In its modern form, Presidents’ Day is used by many patriotic and historical groups as a date for staging celebrations, reenactments and other events. A number of states also require that their public schools spend the days leading up to Presidents’ Day teaching students about the accomplishments of the presidents, often with a focus on the lives of Washington and Lincoln.

FUN FACT

President’s Day never falls on the actual birthday of any American president. Four chief executives—George Washington, William Henry Harrison, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan were born in February, but their birthdays all come either too early or late to coincide with Presidents’ Day, which is always celebrated on the third Monday of the month.

Valentine’s Day

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Every February 14, across the United States and in other places around the world, candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint, and where did these traditions come from? Find out about the history of this centuries-old holiday, from ancient Roman rituals to the customs of Victorian England.

The Legend of St. Valentine

The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.

Origins of Valentine’s Day: A Pagan Festival in February

While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.

Valentine’s Day: A Day of Romance

Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity and but was outlawed—as it was deemed “un-Christian”–at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt . (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.

Typical Valentine’s Day Greetings

In addition to the United States, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings.

Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.) Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.

FUN FACT

Approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine’s Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas.

Spotless Living Spaces

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Here are some quick and easy cleaning tips for some spotless living spaces.

Shine a light on hidden dust

Put on overhead light fixtures too see cobwebs and particles lurking on moldings, fans and fixtures. If out of reach, use an extension tool to wipe globes and trim. Hint – Oxo’s microfiber extendable duster is a washable and pivots to get every spot.

Take a floor-up approach

Pull furniture away from walls to vacuum under and behind. Nab the dust along the baseboards and clean the carpet dents with your vacuums upholstery tool. Hint – Fluff matted carpet tufts with a steam iron or garment steamer.

Toss drapes in the laundry

Wash or dry-clean curtains. Or if the need refreshing, tumble them on the dryer’s air-only setting to remove dust and you can add dryer sheets for a fresh sent. Hint – Try Dryel’s new in-dryer kit. It steams fabrics and includes a pen for stains , plus an odor and wrinkle removing spray.

Stick it to Pet Hair

You can spray upholstery and carpet with an antistatic spray, like static guard and it will break the charge that causes fur to cling to these surfaces. It will now be easier to gather or vacuum up the pet fur.

Groundhog Day

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Groundhog Day falls on February 2 in the United States, coinciding with Candlemas. It is a part of popular culture among many Americans and it centers on the idea of the groundhog coming out of its home to “predict” the weather.

What Do People Do?

Groundhog Day is a popular observance in many parts of the United States. Although some states have in some cases adopted their own groundhogs, the official groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, lives at Gobbler’s Knob near Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The town has attracted thousands of visitors over the years to experience various Groundhog Day events and activities on February 2.

The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club plays an important role in organizing Groundhog Day in the town. Club members, news reporters, locals, and visitors meet at Gobbler’s Knob on February 2 each year to await Phil’s appearance and his weather prediction. Pennsylvania’s governor has been known to attend Groundhog Day ceremonies. Many weather researchers questioned the groundhog’s accuracy in predicting the weather, but some of the groundhog’s fans may not agree.

Public Life

Groundhog Day is an observance but it is not a public holiday in the United States. However, areas around parks and some streets may be busy or congested in towns, such as Punxsutawney, where Groundhog Day events are popular.

Roots in Nature

Thousands of years ago when animalism and nature worship were prevalent, people in the area of Europe now known as Germany believed that the badger had the power to predict the coming of spring. They watched the badger to know when to plant their crops. By the time the first German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania they probably understood that this was not true but the tradition continued.

Unfortunately, there were not many badgers in Pennsylvania so the groundhog was substituted for the badger. Tradition has it that if the groundhog sees its shadow on February 2 it will be frightened by it and will then return to its burrow, indicating that there will be 6 more weeks of winter. If it does not see its shadow, then spring is on the way.

Punxsutawney Phil

Punxsutawney held its first Groundhog Day in the United States in the 1800s. The first official trek to Gobbler’s Knob was made on February 2, 1887. It is said that Punxsutawney Phil (the groundhog) was named after King Phillip. He was called Br’er Groundhog prior to being known as Phil. Canada also celebrates Groundhog Day.

The movie “Groundhog Day” from 1993, starring comedian Bill Murray, made Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania famous worldwide. The film’s plot added new meaning to the term “Groundhog Day” as something that repeats itself endlessly.