Groundhog Day History

Friday , 2 February

About Groundhog Day

  • Groundhog Day is a special holiday celebrated on February 2nd. This is one of the most awaited days in Canada and the US when forecasts about the change of seasons are made.

  • This day stems from the ancient belief that hibernating creatures were able to predict the arrival of springtime by their emergence. Groundhog Day history traced back to 1700 when the Delaware Indian settled in Pennsylvania.

  • In Punxsutawney, Delawares looked at groundhogs as their ancestors. According to their belief, forebears first emerged on earth in form of groundhogs. Centuries later these forebears would be born as human beings on "Mother Earth". Folklores from the ancient days of the Delawares contributed to the practice and celebration of Groundhog Day in February. Old sayings from Scotland, America, and Germany talk about these ancient beliefs, which have been carried forward till date.

  • Groundhog is also known as 'Punxsutawney Phil', a name derived from the native of Punxsutawney, a place situated in Western Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh. This event is said to resemble Candlemas celebrations of the Catholics and Imbolc's Pagan festival. These festivals too share the same theme of weather foretelling as the Groundhog Day.

    Significance of Groundhog Day

  • Groundhog, the creature forecasts the weather. Yes, for those who are not aware of this practice in Pennsylvania and other parts of the world, will find it quite interesting. The creature hibernates during the winter season.

  • Legends have it that on February 2nd if the groundhog comes out of its burrows and sees a cloudy weather, it leaves the burrow indicating the end of winter and arrival of spring. On the flip side, if it comes out to a sunny climate and sees its shadows, the creature returns back to its burrow indicating winter's stay for another six weeks.

  • In U.S., the "official" groundhog is celebrated in well-known destination of Pennsylvania. The day starts with grand celebration that takes place annually on February 2.

  • Amidst the festive celebrations "Punxsutawney Phil" or the groundhog is brought out by its keepers who wear the traditional tuxedos. Phil, the star of the event then announces the forecast in the ears of the keepers, who then shout it aloud to anxious people waiting for the big moment. This of course, is done for fun.

  • The Phil keepers already decide on the forecasts, which they announce later through this event.

    Groundhog Day - How it all began

  • Tracing the inception of Groundhog Day brings us to several tales about how it all began. One of such would say that the Germans who shifted to Pennsylvania would check the burrows for the groundhogs. If the creatures had left their burrows, this would mean an early farewell to the winter and a weather perfect for their stay and travel.

  • Some of the tales even suggest the inception of this interesting weather forecast special day has its links to the European weather prognostication, where a bear or badger forebodes the weather.

  • The forecasts by the groundhog are more than superstitions as the predictions are 80 percent correct. The day is celebrated with great enthusiasm with "Phil the Groundhog" as the main highlight.

    Groundhog Day Observances
    Weekday Date Year Name Holiday Type
    Tue Feb 2 2016 Groundhog Day Observance
    Thu Feb 2 2017 Groundhog Day Observance
    Fri Feb 2 2018 Groundhog Day Observance
    Sat Feb 2 2019 Groundhog Day Observance
    Sun Feb 2 2020 Groundhog Day Observance

  • Last Updated: 22nd January, 2018