What your local groundhog can tell you
The origins of Groundhog Day can be traced back to German lore. German tradition indicates that should the badger or hedgehog see his shadow on a particular day, six additional weeks of winter will ensue. In the United States, we celebrated the first official Groundhog Day in February of 1886, in a little town called Punxsutawney, located about 80 miles northeast of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.
Today, we celebrate Groundhog Day on the 2nd of February each year. Lots of us still get our Groundhog Day news from the reports that come out of Punxsutawney and the predictions made by a groundhog named Phil. However, many cities and towns across this great nation have their own weather-predicting groundhogs.
Groundhog Day Activities
Depending on your location, your town may make a big deal of Groundhog Day and bombard the public with countless fun and exciting Groundhog Day activities. For example, in Punxsutawney, guests enjoy ice-carving exhibitions, a Prognosticator's Ball, trivia contests, chili cook-offs, scavenger hunts and a whole lot more!
If you're not lucky enough to attend Groundhog Day celebrations, you will be able to catch national broadcasts of the goings-on in Punxsutawney via a number of prominent news stations. The celebration is even displayed on the giant screen in Times Square. Other towns also broadcast their own Groundhog Day events on local news stations.
Groundhog Day in Film
Punxsutawney Phil was catapulted to fame by the 1993 motion picture Groundhog Day. The movie was not actually filmed in Punxsutawney, but was based entirely on the happenings in the town on this special day of the year. Movie crews visited Punxsutawney prior to set construction and built the set to scale according to the crew's research notes and videos taken during their visit.
Have some fun this Groundhog Day. Contact your local town officials and find out what Groundhog Day activities will be available to you and your family this year. If you can't attend official events, consider hosting your own Groundhog Day party and invite friends and family to spend the day playing games, eating, drinking, laughing, talking and watching the TV to see what predictions Punxsutawney Phil makes for the coming six weeks. You'll be surprised by the fun and anticipation that comes with such a party. And even if Phil does predict six more weeks of winter, take heart – Valentines Day will soon be here to warm you up!