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Groundhog Day

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Celebrated on February 2nd, Punxsatawney Phil of Punxsatawney, Pennsylvania, arises from his den and looks for his shadow.  If he sees a shadow, there will be six more weeks until Spring.  The early coming of Spring will be foretold if a shadow is not seen. 


The origins of Groundhog Day may have its roots in old Celtic celebrations.  Many of their celebrations surrounded the changing of the seasons.  One of the days they celebrated was called Imbolog, which took place half way between the Winter and the Spring.  If the weather was nice on this feast day, then they were in for a long winter, but if the feast was hindered by bad weather, they could celebrate the early coming of Spring.


As Christianity grew, it absorbed many of the local customs into the new "religious" holidays.  In this case, the holiday of Candelmas occurs at about the same time as the Imbolog celebration and the custom of foretelling the weather became a part of Candelmas in parts of Europe, such as England and Germany.


The early German settlers, took their customs with them to the America.  A large German population settled in the area of Pennsylvania.  The weather prediction became part of local custom when they would observe the habits of the groundhog on Candelmas.  In Punxsatawney, there was a groundhog that seemed to be able to foretell the weather with some degree of accuracy and every year first hundreds, and now thousands of spectators come to the town to see if the ancestor of the original "Punxsatawney Phil" sees his shadow to foretell the early coming of Spring.


2005: Phil took a look outside and saw his shadow.  Don't put away your winter coats yet, we have another six weeks of winter before the Spring begins.



Groundhog Day Facts & History (Official Site): The official website for Punxsatawneyphil and Groundhog Day festivities, including schedules. Unofficial site with facts, stories and pictures about Phil and Groundhog Day.

Groundhog Day History (StormFax): Almanac and information on Punxsatawney, PA and Groundhog Day. The One Stop Web Site for everything Groundhog! Information, Activities,
Merchandise, Links, Birthday Club and More!

Fabulous February Favorites (Jerrie Cheek): List of links on Groundhog Day and other February Holidays.

Groundhog Day ( Information and history of Phil and the Groundhog Day celebration.
Groundhog Day and Chinese Astronomy ( A detailed essay discussing the date of Groundhog Day (Feb. 2nd) and how it relates  to early Chinese Astronomy.

Groundhogs & Woodchucks

Day of the Shadow: Learn about shadows, groundhogs, Groundhog Day, hibernation and sundials.

Groundhogs at HogHaven ( A website about Groundhogs in general with pictures from a live groundhog den.


Groundhog Day Activities & Lesson Plans

Education World
Groundhog Day Funology
Kids Domain

Related Sites

The Weather Channel (official site): Offers forecasts for cities worldwide as well as radar and satellite maps.

Astrology Online ( The largest Astrology site on the Internet.  Featuring daily and weekly original horoscopes by Michael Thiessen.

Groundhog day is barely celebrated by most people outside of Punxsatawney, Pennsylvania.  However, most of us keep track of whether Phil sees his shadow to dictate the return of summer.


Dinner and a Movie: Groundhog day is a good time for a dinner and a movie.  This would make a nice romantic gift. Since it is a day for looking into the future and reflecting on the past and not a day for work, forget about cooking and order in some food.  Chinese food might be a good idea, as long as you read your fortune cookie at the end of the meal. Then pop in Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray.  In this movie Murray is forced to take a look at his life and his relationships and spend the movie changing them for a better future. This move would also make a good gift for others on this holiday.


Travel to Punxatawney: From what people tell me the town of Punxatawney becomes a great big party during the days surrounding Groundhog day. Taking your special someone, or just some good friends to the festivities would be a great gift - but remember to book your hotel room early.


Other Gifts: Although not traditionally a gift giving holiday, some gift giving suggestions include anything dealing with Weather Forecasting, Astrology or Fortune Telling. Since this holiday revolves around foretelling the future, these would be very appropriate gifts.




"Celebrations" Book with Bouquet




American Way Bouquet



Groundhog Day icon

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Copyright 2002-2012
Last modified: March 20, 2012

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