Groundhog Day on February 2 is when we ask are we in for six more weeks of Winter? Only a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil knows for sure. Each year on Groundhog Day, people flock to Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to await the forecast of the local rodent celebrity. Originating with German settlers, who came to Pennsylvania in the 1700s and brought their seasonal superstitions with them, legend has it that if Phil sees his shadow on February 2, the winter chill will continue. Oddly, if the weather is cloudy and he doesn’t see his shadow, we can expect warmer temperatures and early spring. Groundhog Day is a tradition to be cherished. And yes, it is also a film starring Bill Murray.
When is Groundhog Day 2023?
Groundhog Day is on February 2 and we wait with bated (and ice-cold) breath to see whether or not winter will continue for another six weeks. Although this holiday is derived from a Dutch superstition, the movie ‘Groundhog Day’ starring Bill Murray is also closely linked to this holiday.
History of Groundhog Day
The Pennsylvania Dutch were German-speaking immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania. They developed their own take on the legend of Candlemas in the 18th and 19th centuries bringing with them the custom of the native Groundhog as their annual weather announcer. Candlemas involved the clergy blessing and distributing candles needed for winter. The Pennsylvania Dutch transformed the idea by selecting an animal to predict their needs for winter.
The first-ever Groundhog Day was created by a local newspaper editor Clymer Freas around 1886, who convinced Groundhog hunter and local businessman, and all members of his Punxsutawney Groundhog club on the idea of Groundhog Day. Together, they all made their way to Gobbler’s Knob where the Groundhog would make the final decision on the weather. Today, a group called the inner circle who wear top hats, conduct the official proceedings on February 2 in a Pennsylvania Dutch dialect, where tens of thousands of people attend the day’s events every year.
Studies have proven no strong correlation between a Groundhog spotting its own shadow and the arrival of spring subsequently. According to German lore, the badger known as Dachs is their forecasting animal. A separate version of traditions states that clear weather on the holy Christian day of Candlemas would often prohibit winter being prolonged.
Groundhog lore suggests much about Punxsutawney Phil. It is said that he drinks a magic ‘‘elixir of life’’ every summer, giving him seven more years to live. He has been predicting since around 1886, and a badger’s life span is around six years roughly, so go figure. There is also supposedly only one Phil and any other groundhogs who attempt to do what he does, are imposters. He is said to speak to the club president on the day, in front of the crowds in Groundhogese which is understood and then translated.
Groundhog Day timeline
Punxsutawney Phil cannot find his shadow meaning an early spring was predicted.
Punxsutawney Phil flies to Chicago to appear on the ‘‘Oprah Winfrey Show.’’
A film of the same name is released starring Bill Murray where he relives Groundhog Day over and over again.
The beginning of the Groundhog tradition dates back to here where a badger or sacred bear would predict the weather.
Groundhog Day Traditions
The concept of Groundhog’s Day is simple but there are plenty of traditions followed on this day. The biggest being the gathering of people at Punxsutawney at the crack of dawn to witness Punxsutawney Phil emerging from his burrow. The event is live-streamed and has a cult following. Dirt pie is the food traditionally baked and served and references to Groundhogs can be seen everywhere. Of course, watching the classic movie ‘Groundhog Day’ on this day has also become an annual tradition.
Groundhog Day By Numbers
1841 – A storekeeper named James Morris wrote and marked the date February 2 as Candlemas Day.
40,000 – The number of people who attend the Groundhog Day celebration in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
1886 – The year the first Groundhog Day was held in Punxsutawney.
39% – The percentage of Punxsutawney Phil’s predictions that are accurate.
85% – The percentage that Phil sees his shadow.
1993 – The year the movie ‘Groundhog Day’ was released.
247365 – Text ‘Groundhog’ to this number to receive text message alerts on Phil’s predictions.
22 – Phil’s weight in pounds. Typically, groundhogs weigh between 12-15 pounds.
18 – The number of times Phil has overlooked his shadow.
Groundhog Day FAQs
What is Groundhog Day about?
Groundhog Day is when the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil predicts whether by looking for his shadow.
Is Groundhog Day accurate?
According to data Phil’s six-week prognostications have been correct about 39 percent of the time.
In the movie, how many days are in Groundhog Day?
Phil Connors endures in “Groundhog Day:” 12,403 days.
Groundhog Day Activities
Watch the Bill Murray in action
Get some popcorn ready because this is a classic. Starring Andie MacDowell and Bill Murray, it’s about a TV weatherman ironically called Phil, who covers an annual Groundhog Day event, only to get caught up in a time loop and have his day repeated, forcing him to relive the same day. It’s a great movie, and a great way to celebrate this day.
Sing the Groundhog Day song
You can find it online but yes, there’s a Groundhog Day song. Learn it and sing along! “We’ll light the big green candle, and eat some rhubarb pie, Gimme a kiss, it’s Groundhog Day and groundhogs do not lie… There are other cool songs of the same name too, by artists like Wale and Eminem so check those out.
Do some Groundhog trivia
There are so many cool and intriguing things to learn about our pals, the Groundhog. Like did you know they have 22 teeth, they can whistle, they’re vegetarians and they hate the taste of chicken? Google some facts about them and we’re sure you will be amazed.
5 Facts About Groundhog Day
Call me by my other name
Groundhog Day is also known as Daks Day in Nova Scotia, Canada.
Blame it on the weatherman
If you text ‘‘Groundhog’’ to 247365, Punxsutawney Phil will reply with his weather prediction.
Choose me every year
States without Groundhogs are choosing their own weather predictor, Texas going with ‘Armadillo Day.’’
Where did the time go?
Punxsutawney Phil has not seen his shadow 15 times and 9 years of Groundhog Day are unaccounted for.
He was right on the night
Apparently, Punxsutawney Phil has been correct 39% of the time.
Why We Love Groundhog Day
Turn misery into magic
The whole point of this day is about prediction. If Phil predicts early spring, people can turn a miserable winter into sun and if he doesn’t, they know what’s to come and so can plan ahead. So, win-win for everyone.
Phil Connors is trapped
The movie ‘‘Groundhog Day’’ has so much meaning and reminds us of why we love this holiday. This movie is recommended if you are feeling trapped, looking for love and meaning in your career, or simply if you’re feeling down. It’s a great reminder of how being stuck can open your vision for change and ask yourself, ‘‘what would I do differently?’’
This is kind of an oddball holiday but due to its long-standing tradition Groundhog Day has built up quite a following. Phil left his hut at 7.20 am, the talking in Groundhogese and the interpreting a Groundhog’s message is all so odd that it makes it all so cool!
Groundhog Day dates