Groundhog Day is celebrated on February 2 every year. It began as a Pennsylvanian German celebration in the 1800s. Initially, it started in Europe as Candelmas Day. In 1886, it was proclaimed as Pennsylvania’s first official Groundhog Day celebration. This American tradition is meant to predict when spring will arrive.
Earlier, a sacred bear or badger was the weather predictor instead of the groundhog. The largest and most famous celebration for this day in the United States is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The University of Dallas in Irving, Texas holds the second largest celebration in the world.
Quick Facts: –
- The famous groundhog who predicts the weather in Punxsutawney Pennsylvania is Punxsutawney Phil.
- According to this day’s tradition, if a groundhog sees its shadow on February 2nd, winter will last another six weeks.
- If he does not see his shadow that means spring will arrive soon.
- Groundhogs were not the first animal forecasters.
- In 1986, Punxsutawney Phil travelled to Washington DC to meet with President Ronald Reagan.
- In 1995, Phil also made an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
- Groundhogs belong to the squirrel family and are the largest of all the marmots.
- They are also known as woodchucks or whistle-pigs.
- Each year, Approximately 40,000 people attend the Groundhog Day celebration in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
- New York City has a groundhog named Pothole Pete.
- Phil has been making predictions for more than 130 years.