Groundhog Day

Top 10 Facts about Groundhog Day

February 2, 2017

Groundhog Day is going to be celebrated very soon, but what do you know about it except for what you have seen in the “Groundhog Day” movie starring Bill Murray? And if you think that Groundhog Day is more about living the same day over and over again rather than watching how the old groundhog Phil is doing his forecast, you should definitely read this article. Here are the top 10 facts that will bring you a clear understanding of what this day is really about.

  1. Groundhogs are rodents. They belong to the rare group of animals who really hibernate during the winter. They often build special burrows to spend their winter in comfort.  
  2. According to the legend, when the groundhog leaves his burrow after the winter sleep, he looks upon his shadow.  
  3. If the weather is sunny and the groundhog sees his shadow, he gets scared and hides back into his burrow. This means that winter will continue for another 6 weeks. If the scenario is different and the weather is cloudy, the groundhog won’t see his shadow, which means that the spring will arrive early.  
  4. This tradition comes from the Germany in the Middle Ages. It was brought to Pennsylvania by the immigrants in 18th and 19th centuries. The only difference is that in an ancient German tradition badgers were used as forecasters. Now, badgers are replaced with groundhogs which are native to Pennsylvania.
  5. Today, February 2nd is the official Groundhog Day which gathers thousands of visitors to the Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. However, it’s not the only place where the Groundhog Day is celebrated, as all across Pennsylvania people go out to watch how groundhogs emerge from their burrows.
  6. There are some areas where huge traditional German parties are organized. They are usually held in German-Pennsylvanian Groundhog Lodges and include a lot of traditional German food. If you speak English there, you’ll have to pay a small fine as a punishment because only Pennsylvanian-German dialect is allowed at these parties.
  7. Arguably, the number one famous groundhog in the world is Punxsutawney Phil. Though groundhogs live 10 years on average, he has been forecasting weather for already 125 years. According to the legends, his incredible age was made possible due to the magical potion that is given to Phil every summer.   
  8. The most respected groundhogs which are chosen to make forecasts live in electric-heated burrows. It is believed that they utter their forecasts in ‘groundhogese’ language which is after it ‘interpreted’ by a representative.  
  9. Inner Circle is an organization which takes care of the groundhogs. It is comprised from local grandees who wear top hats and are responsible for the Groundhog Day festivities.   
  10. Groundhogs are actually not very good at forecasting weather. While some residents of Pennsylvania say that groundhogs’ forecasts are 90% accurate, studies show that they are accurate in only 35% of cases.
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