What is Groundhog Day?

Although Groundhog Day has passed, there is still time to celebrate it. Groundhog Day is a day where a groundhog predicts if there will be a longer winter. It’s a real life tradition that individuals do, celebrated on February 2nd. 

The origins of Groundhog day can be traced back to February 2nd, 1887. The original tradition of Groundhog Day revolves around a groundhog. If a groundhog comes out of its hole, sees a shadow there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If the opposite happens, and it does not see any shadow, then it is a sign of an early spring.

Groundhog day has been a part of our world since ancient Christian times. This came about when the clergy would bless candles that were needed for the winter. These candles would represent how cold and long winter would be. The Germans thought of how to expand the tradition even further, by selecting an animal to be the main attraction. One proposed idea was using a hedgehog..

The animal they agreed on for Groundhog Day was the groundhog. These animals usually have a weight of 12 to 15 pounds and they live up to six years. They go into hibernation during the late fall and come out of hibernation by the spring in March. When they go into hibernation, their body temperature drops and they can lose up to 30 percent of their body fat.

Punxsutawney Phil. Image courtesy of Creative Commons

A very interesting fact about Groundhog Day is that in 1887 there was a group of groundhog hunters from Punxsutawney who were called The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. Phil, one of the members, had the first groundhog that could predict the true weather forcasting. This was the original Groundhog Day that left a lasting legacy for Punxsutawney. In recent years, around 40,000 people have come to Punxsutawney to see the groundhog ceremony. 

“Wow, I didn’t know there was so much history behind Groundhogs Day,” said Agustin Funez, a senior at San Marcos High School. 

There is also a film dedicated to Groundhog Day, which actors Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell star in. This film became one of the highest grossing in 1993, earning over $70 million dollars in box office revenue. Celebrating this day would mean knowing how this day was invented. This event will continue to be recognized throughout generations to come. Happy Groundhog Day!