About Groundhog Day
When is Groundhog Day? This holiday is always observed on February 2
Groundhog Day, a February 2 holiday, is celebrated in the U.S. each year on February 2. On this day in mid-winter, the groundhog awakens from a long winter’s nap and goes outside of his den to see if he sees his shadow. This tradition is big, on an otherwise cold and dreary mid-winter’s day.
According to legend, if the groundhog sees his shadow (a sunny morning), there will be six more weeks of winter. He then returns to his den and goes back to sleep. If however, he does not see his shadow (cloudy days), he plays around outside of his hole for a while. If he does not see his shadow, spring is just around the corner.
The Groundhog’s Day tradition travelled a long way. It comes from German roots. In the early 1800s, German immigrants to America brought the tradition of predicting winter weather on February 2. In their native Germany, they used Hedgehogs to predict the weather. As they settled in the hills of Pennsylvania, they began the tradition, of using the Groundhog to predict the arrival of Spring. The tradition is based upon Candlemas, the day that is the midpoint between Winter and Spring.
A famous Candlemas poem goes:
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again.
Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania is the site of the annual Groundhog event. Our little rodent friend (yes, Groundhogs are classified as rodents) is called Punxsutawney Phil. He has been making this annual winter prediction since 1887. There are a few other “predictors” around the country, but they all pale in comparison to Phil’s ability to predict the remainder of winter.
For the Record Phil sees his shadow about 9 out of 10 times,
Punxsutawney Phil is not the only one to come out on February 2 to predict when winter will be over. He is by far the best known. Others include:
- Buckeye Chuck in Ohio
- General Beauregard Lee in Georgia
Did You Know? The town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania holds a Ground Hog Festival every year. But, it isn’t on Ground Hog’s Day on February 2. This week-long festival is held at the end of June when the weather is much more pleasant to enjoy an outdoor event.
How to Participate in Ground Hog Day
- Go to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to witness the event in person.
- Stay tuned to the news media to find out if the groundhog saw his shadow.
- Watch the movie Groundhog.
“The only time a woman really succeeds in changing a man is when he is a baby.” – – Natalie Wood
More on Groundhog's Day
History and Origin of Groundhog Day
The first official Groundhog Day celebration took place on February 2, 1887, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. This annual tradition wad brought to the U.S. by German immigrants.
More February 2 Holidays
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