Date when: February 2nd each year
Groundhog Day is celebrated in the U.S. each year on February 2nd. On this day in mid-winter, the groundhog awakens from a long winter's nap, and goes outside of his den to see if he sees his shadow. This tradition is big, on an otherwise cold and dreary mid-winter's day.
According to legend, if the groundhog sees his shadow (a sunny morning), there will be six more weeks of winter. He then returns to his den and goes back to sleep. If however, he does not see his shadow (cloudy days), he plays around outside of his hole for a while. If he does not see his shadow, spring is just around the corner.
The Groundhog's Day tradition travelled long ways. It comes from German roots. German immigrants brought the tradition with them from Germany. As they settled in hills of Pennsylvania, they began the tradition of using the Groundhog to predict the the arrival of Spring. The tradition is based upon Candlemas, the day that is the midpoint between Winter and Spring. A famous Candlemas poems goes:
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again.
Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania is the site of the annual Ground Hog event. Our little rodent friend (yes, Groundhogs are classified as rodents) is called Punxsutawney Phil. There are a few other "predictors" around the country, but they all pale in comparison to Phil's ability to predict the remainder of winter.
For the Record Phil sees his shadow about 9 out of 10 times
The Original site of Punxsutawney Phil Straight from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania!
This Day in History February 2nd
New Amsterdam (later renamed The City of New York) is incorporated. (1653)
Mexican–American War: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is signed. (1848)
California Gold Rush: The first ship with Chinese immigrants arrives in San Francisco. (1848)
The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs of Major League Baseball is formed. (1876)
In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania the first Groundhog Day is observed. (1887)
Funeral of Queen Victoria. (1901)
Grand Central Terminal is opened in New York City. (1913)
Ulysses by James Joyce is published. (1922)
Serum run to Nome: Dog sleds reach Nome, Alaska with diphtheria serum, inspiring the Iditarod race. (1925)
Working as maids, the sisters Christine and Lea Papin murder their employer's wife and daughter in Le Mans, France. The case is the subject of a number of French films and plays. (1933)
The Export-Import Bank of the United States is incorporated. (1934)
Leonarde Keeler tests the first polygraph machine. (1935)
World War II: The Battle of Stalingrad comes to conclusion as Soviet troops accept the surrender of 91,000 remnants of the Axis forces. (1943)
The Groundhog Day gale hits the north-eastern United States and south-eastern Canada. (1976)
Reports surface that the FBI is targeting allegedly corrupt Congressmen in the Abscam operation. (1980)
Auntie Anne's is founded by Anne F. Beiler in Lancaster, Pennsylvania (1988)
Apartheid: F. W. de Klerk announces the unbanning of the African National Congress and promises to release Nelson Mandela. (1990)
First digital cinema projection in Europe (Paris) realized by Philippe Binant with the DLP CINEMA technology developed by Texas Instruments. (2000)