USA Culture: Groundhog Day is February 2

Wednesday, February 2, 2022


Happy Groundhog Day! Groundhog Day is February 2, and it’s a very popular day in the United States and Canada. It’s the day on which the groundhog (woodchuck) emerges from its winter rest and predicts the weather for the following six weeks.

Groundhog Day originates from the German tradition that if a groundhog emerges from its burrow (a hole or tunnel dug by a small animal) on this day and sees its shadow due to sunny weather, it will return to its den, and winter will continue for six more weeks; if it's cloudy and he doesn't see his shadow, it means an early spring. Many of Pennsylvania’s early settlers were German and they brought this tradition with them to North America.

Since there are no rodent meteorologists, there is no consistent connection between a groundhog seeing its shadow and the arrival time of spring-like weather, even though Groundhog Day remains a popular tradition. 

I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and, according to the this morning’s report of Gordy, the Milwaukee County Zoo's resident groundhog, he did not see his shadow, thus predicting an early spring for Milwaukee :)

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