What is Groundhog Day?
Groundhog Day = Predicts the arrival of when spring will be
The first documented American reference to Groundhog Day can be found in a diary entry, dated February 4, 1841, of Morgantown, Pennsylvania, storekeeper James Morris. Groundhog Day marks the midway point between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox. It is a derivative from the early Christian holiday of Candlemas Day. The holiday is commemorated when a famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, emerges from his burrow and looks for his shadow. The tradition goes that this day, is used to help determine how many weeks of winter might be left. It is observed every year on February 2nd and was established in 1887.
Groundhog Day Events
The largest Groundhog Day celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where crowds as large as 40,000 have gathered to celebrate the holiday since at least 1886. Other celebrations of note in Pennsylvania take place in Quarryville in Lancaster County, the Anthracite Region of Schuylkill County, and the Sinnamahoning Valley of Bucks County.
The day is observed with various ceremonies at other locations in North America, including Wiarton, Ontario, the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park in Nova Scotia, and the University of Dallas in Irving, Texas (which has what is claimed to be the second largest Groundhog celebration in the world).
In southeastern Pennsylvania, Groundhog Lodges (Grundsow Lodges) celebrate the holiday with fersommlinge social events in which food is served, speeches are made, and one or more g’spiel (plays or skits) are performed for entertainment. The Pennsylvania German dialect is the only language spoken at the event, and those who speak English pay a penalty, usually in the form of a nickel, dime, or quarter per word spoken, with the money put into a bowl in the center of the table
Visit Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania and see Phil the groundhog in person.
Watch the movie Groundhog Day.
Host a Groundhog Day party. Record the emergence of Phil from his hole and play it back at the party. Several days before the party, have all of the attendees send in their prediction regarding whether Phil will see his shadow. Have small prizes for the winners.
Watch Phil emerge from his hole live via television.
Make a bet with yourself: If he sees his shadow – complete one chore, if he doesn’t see his shadow – treat yourself to something fun.
Groundhog Day Official Site
Groundhog Day Facts
- The Groundhog emerges from his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow.
- If it is sunny and he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter and he returns to his hole. If it is cloudy and he does not see his shadow, he will stay above ground as spring is on its way.
- The first Groundhog Day was celebrated on February 2, 1887, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. A local newspaper editor, Clymer Freas, convinced his friends-known as the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, for their love of hunting groundhogs-to visit Gobbler’s Knob.
- After observing a groundhog emerge from his hole, they determined that seeing his shadow was a bad omen and meant there were at least six more weeks of winter.
- This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather. – Phil Connors from the Movie Groundhog Day.
- Groundhogs, otherwise known as woodchucks, are rodents. They hibernate throughout the winter.
Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you. – Maori Proverb.