The History of Groundhog Day


Kylie Drayer, Contributor

Groundhog Day is celebrated every year on February 2. The event is a pretty big deal around here, considering it happens locally in Punxsutawney. Everyone knows what happens on Groundhog Day, but they probably don’t know why it happens. Groundhog Day originates back to the year 1887 at Gobbler’s Knob- the place where it is still held today.

This is how Groundhog Day works- if Phil, the groundhog meteorologist, sees his shadow after coming out of hibernation, there will be six more weeks of winter. If he does not see his shadow, spring will come early. According to, Groundhog Day originated with Candlemas Day, which is a Christian tradition. On this day, the clergy would distribute candles that people would need for winter. The German people added to this tradition by using a hedgehog to predict the weather. Then, when the Germans came to America and settled in Pennsylvania, they started using groundhogs to predict the weather because there were so many of them in the region.

Later in 1887, the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club said that one of their groundhogs, Phil, was the only groundhog who could predict the weather accurately. This tradition caught on and continues today with Phil, who is arguably the most famous groundhog in the world.

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