Check out all the wonderful animal photos at National Geographic.com

Groundhog day is Candlemas in the old European Calendar. This is the day that Christmas or Yule decorations officially come down. Here is the full verse:

If Candlemas day be fair and bright,

Winter will have another flight.

If Candlemas day be clouds and rain,

Winter is gone, and will not come again.

~ E. Holden

The US tradition honors the groundhog, or marmot, as the local weather prognosticator. Other regions honored the fox, the robin and a host of other animals. The animal chosen is not important, nor is the forecast supposed to relate to a whole country, but is said to describe a local microclimate phenomenon. Whatever, I ask you all to wish for a cloudy day today, wherever you are, so that no beast can see his shadow. We don’t want another repeat of last year!

The American Ground Hog: Click here to visit Punxatawney Phil’s official site.

For some of the science behind the tradition, yes, there is a wee bit of science, see the Farmer’s Almanac article.

Most importantly, watch Groundhog Day again.