Groundhog Day


Katie White

Art of a groundhog with his shadow behind him.

Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania is a small town, but they are known for a big thing: Groundhog Day. Every year on February 2nd, the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club reads Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction for how long winter will be. Groundhog Day originally started in Germany. They used a badger instead of a groundhog, but the concept was basically the same. If the rodent sees their shadow, winter will last six more weeks. If they don’t, it’ll be an early spring.

Punxsutawney Phil is an important part of groundhog day; he’s the groundhog that makes the prediction. Every year the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club takes him from his temporary home in a stump called Gobbler’s Knob and they place him on top of it so he can make his famous prediction. He is also given the “elixir of life” which is said to be what’s kept him alive this long.

The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club has been around since 1880’s. It’s been a longstanding tradition for them and they love to celebrate it. They wear top hats and tuxedos and hold up Phil so everyone can see him while they read his prediction for winter. Unfortunately, like a lot of things this year, Groundhog Day had to be held virtually. The club was sad to not have their usual celebration, but they were happy that everyone was safe at home and still able to watch.

This year, Phil saw his shadow. This is exciting for some that enjoy winter, but don’t worry fans of spring: Phil is only right about 40% of the time. Whether he sees his shadow is based on what the weather is like that day, so there is no scientific reasoning behind this tradition. This doesn’t stop people from enjoying it though. Overall, while not scientifically backed, Groundhog Day is a fun tradition. It’s a reason to celebrate and watch while a groundhog is placed on a stump so he can make a weather prediction.