Groundhog Day

Why we celebrate Groundhog Day and what it’s about

Groundhog day has passed, but what’s the big deal? So many people put faith and excitement into groundhog day and celebrate it every year. What are we celebrating, why, and where did the tradition come from?

Every year, on February 2nd, a single groundhog predicts the future for the six upcoming weeks. There are only two choices, and two ways to find out: if the groundhog sees its shadow, 6 more weeks of Winter. But if the groundhog doesn’t see its shadow, Spring comes early. The groundhog is only right around 40% of the time, despite its 100 years as a weather forecaster.

The current groundhog goes by the name of Phil Punxsutawney, which has been his name for all 137 years of the Groundhog Day tradition. Well, at least according to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. The groundhog is no greenland shark; groundhogs typically only live four to five years; whether it’s a series of replaced hedgehogs or a holiday miracle, in the end, it’s all up to the individual to believe Phil’s been alive all this time.

In the Middle Ages, a belief arose that animals such as badgers and bears interrupted their hibernations and appeared during the Winter Solstice. If the day was sunny and the animal saw its shadow, there would be 6 more weeks of winter. If the day was cloudy, it was a sign that the weather for the following weeks would be mild, resulting in early Spring. German immigrants carried this rumor to the United States, and, in Pennsylvania, the badger was replaced with a groundhog (Britannica).

Phil is said to have never been wrong, according to promoters of the local festival, despite records showing otherwise. So, why is this day still celebrated? Well, because it’s a century-old tradition resulting from the celebration of early settlers. Of course, the settlers hadn’t known the impact would be so broad, but now, it’s a famous celebration across the nation!

To celebrate this tradition, on February 2nd one could watch the event on tv, or go to Gobbler’s Knob in Pennsylvania where the groundhog reveals his prediction. From there, the groundhog supposedly “whispers” in the ear of one of the hosts and they reveal what the groundhog “said.” Whether the groundhog saw its shadow or not, the celebration continues for the rest of the day.

Now, what did the groundhog see this year? In 2023 on February 2nd, Phil was revealed for over the 100th time. When he whispered into the host’s ear, the host braced themselves to announce the outcome. This year, Phil has revealed that he did see his shadow, meaning another 6 weeks of winter!

It’s not about what’s true or what’s a lie, it’s about enjoying the day as-is. There’s no harm in feeling the excitement of having an every-day animal predicting the upcoming future, it’s about having a good time!



Andrew S. (Feb. 2nd, 2023). The bizarre history of Groundhog Day. CNN, Cable News Network. Retrieved February 2, 2023 from

DiMattia A. (Feb. 2nd, 2023). Groundhog day 2023 prediction: Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, meaning 6 more weeks of winter. Erie Times-News. Retrieved February 2, 2023 from

Helimen G. (Feb, 1st, 2023). How long do groundhogs live? how old was Milltown Mel?. as. Retrieved February 2, 2023 from

Weil A. (Feb. 2nd, 2023). How accurate is Punxsutawney Phil?. Retrieved February 2, 2023 from,40%25%20of%20the%20time.%E2%80%9D.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (Feb. 2nd, 2023). Groundhog Day. Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. Retrieved February 2, 2023 from

6abc Philadelphia. (Feb. 2nd, 2023). Groundhog day 2023: Punxsutawney Phil the Groundhog sees his Shadow. Retrieved February 2, 2023 from,’t%2C%20spring%20comes%20early.

Musto J. (Feb. 3rd, 2023). Groundhog day 2023: Punxsutawney Phil sees his Shadow, predicts 6 more weeks of Winter. Fox News, FOX News Network. Retrieved February 2, 2023 from

CBS News. (Feb. 3rd, 2023). Groundhog day 2023: Punxsutawney Phil predicts 6 more weeks of Winter. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 2, 2023 from