Fun Facts about Groundhog Day!


0?  “The day a “rodent predicts’ the length of winter.”

Hmm  Stretching my gray cells here.  LOL!  By definition; if it’s cloudy on February 2nd and a groundhog comes out from its burrow, then there will be an early spring. If the sun is shining and he sees his shadow, then he’ll go back underground and winter will continue for six more weeks.

Since I have no “special memories/anniversaries/thoughts” about that day, I’m going to search the Internet for a few facts that will AMAZE you all! (or at least try)   🙂 I added the final fact because I am from an indigenous heritage and found it interesting. 🙂

German tradition holds that if the sun comes out on Candlemas , the precursor to Groundhog Day, the hedgehog (or badger) will see its shadow and six more weeks of winter will follow. When German settlers came to Pennsylvania they continued this tradition, using groundhogs instead of hedgehogs to predict the weather.

The first official Groundhog Day was celebrated on February 2, 1886 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, with a proclamation in The Punxsutawney Spirit by the newspaper’s editor, Clymer Freas: “Today is Groundhog Day and up to the time of going to press the beast has not seen its shadow.” The legendary first Groundhog Day trip to Gobbler’s Knob was made the following year by a group of spirited groundhog hunters who dubbed themselves “The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.” Clymer, a member of the club, used his editorial clout to proclaim that Phil, the Punxsutawney Groundhog, was the one and only official weather prognosticating groundhog.

Phil’s fame began to spread and newspapers from around the world began to report his predictions. Growing legions of fans started making the trek to Punxsutawney every February 2, and with the release of the 1993 movie Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray, the crowds began to number in the tens of thousands. Phil’s yearly Groundhog Day predictions are actually even entered into the Congressional Record!

Where does the name Punxsutawney come from? Punxsutawney was first settled by the Delaware Indians in 1723 and its name comes from the Indian name for the location “ponksad-uteney” which means the “town of the sandflies.” The name woodchuck also has Indian origins, coming from the legend of “Wojak, the groundhog.”

What does Groundhog Day mean to you; if anything?


About pjharjo

Janette is an author of Romantic Paranormal Fantasy. CONNECTIONS, her first series, is Indie published. You can follow her or sign up for her newsletter, and learn more about her new releases as they become available, at She lives in the beautiful and prolific Pacific NW of the USA.
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9 Responses to Fun Facts about Groundhog Day!

  1. Laurie Ryan says:

    I don’t have any groundhog memories but my sister, who lives in Philadelphia and is tired of SNOW, so she was really hoping Phil wouldn’t see his shadow. Alas, he did.


  2. Last year old Phil didn’t see his shadow but we had Winter until May…I’m hoping that and with him seeing his shadow this year, it will still be an early Spring.
    Nice, informative post,Janette.I’m stuck for something groundhoggy to say myself.


  3. jeff7salter says:

    that’s great info — don’t recall hearing any of it before.
    I still find it quite amazing that people (lead by the media) continue to focus on one single groundhog in one very specific location in PA. I mean, why doesn’t KY have our own groundhog weather forecaster? Why not Louisiana?
    As for winter — I’m always quite relieve to see it behind me.


  4. Patricia Kiyono says:

    Actually, Jeff, there are several groundhogs doing predictions. There’s Chattanooga Chuck in Tennessee, so I’m sure if you started one in Possum Trot you’d get yourself a following. Thanks for the details, Janette.


  5. I know there is one up in Wisconsin, can’t recall his name. Phil is simply the most famous. 🙂
    That was a nice bit of information. I had not heard much of that before.


  6. pjharjo says:

    thank you, Angela! I’m glad I could add to what you’ve heard. I was once told by someone they wished they could bottle me for their chapter because of my search engine knowledge. 🙂 You say he’s got a different name in Wisconsin? I thought he was “Phil” everywhere. LOL!


  7. Pingback: What is the Origin of Groundhog Day? - Science Alcove

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