Origin of Groundhog Day
Words nearby Groundhog Day
What is Groundhog Day?
Groundhog Day is a minor holiday on February 2 based on the tradition of predicting whether there will be an early spring based on whether a groundhog sees its shadow or not (yes, it is that silly). It’s primarily celebrated by people in the U.S.
Celebration of the day is based in the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where a festival is centered around a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil. According to legend, Groundhog Day marks the date on which the groundhog (also known as a woodchuck) comes out of hibernation. When Punxsutawney Phil emerges, observers note whether or not he “sees his shadow.” This basically means that if the day is sunny, the prediction will be for another six weeks of winter weather. If the day is cloudy, the prediction is for an early spring.
The proper name of the holiday is Groundhog Day, not Groundhogs Day or Groundhog’s Day.
Groundhog Day is a lighthearted holiday that’s typically used just as an excuse for some fun and festivities, when it’s observed at all. For most people in the U.S., it’s just a funny tradition that they hear about on February 2 every year.
However, the holiday is thought to have been made more popular by the 1993 film Groundhog Day. The movie is about a TV weatherman (played by Bill Murray) who, while visiting Punxsutawney to cover the Groundhog Day festivities, gets stuck in some kind of time loop that causes him to experience Groundhog Day over and over again. This movie led to the use of the term Groundhog Day to refer to such a time loop or to the experience of every day feeling the same.
Example: Honestly, this job is Groundhog Day—I do the same thing every single day!
Where does Groundhog Day come from?
The name of Groundhog Day dates back to at least the 1870s. The day has been celebrated in Punxsutawney since the 1880s, but similar customs are even older.
The central tradition of Groundhog Day—basing predictions about future weather on the weather of the day—is thought to be based on folklore surrounding the Christian holiday of Candlemas. According to tradition, if Candlemas fell on a cloudy day, spring would come early. If it was sunny, winter would last longer. It was in Germany that the element of an animal was added—except it was originally a hedgehog. German immigrants are thought to have brought the tradition to the U.S., swapping the hedgehog for a groundhog.
Find all the facts you ever wanted about Groundhog Day by reading our article on all the conversations surrounding the holiday.
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How is Groundhog Day used in real life?
Groundhog Day is a silly minor holiday that’s not widely observed in any special way. Most people associate the day with the movie, which helped to make the holiday more popular.
— TIME (@TIME) February 2, 2020
— Punxsutawney Phil (@GroundhogClub) February 2, 2020
Time is standing still this week. Feels like Groundhog Day, it’s never going to get to Friday.
— Kory Besaw (@KoryBesaw) July 26, 2018
Try using Groundhog Day!
True or False?
If Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow on Groundhog Day, it means spring will come early.
How to use Groundhog Day in a sentence
Nominated for Best Live Action Short was “Two Distant Strangers,” bisexual writer Travon Free’s 30-minute film starring Joey Bada$$ in a “Groundhog Day” style story about a guy who keeps dying after encountering police racial violence.
Life aboard the ship—which on one 110-day deployment spent 107 days submerged—sometimes felt like Groundhog Day, the Bill Murray classic about a TV weatherman stuck in a time loop, Kilby says.
“Groundhog Day” is a great movie, but what a fraud that Punxsutawney Phil is.Nothing can spoil the first day of spring training. (Though covid sure is giving it a shot.)|Thomas M. Boswell|February 18, 2021|Washington Post
The Groundhog Day premise has been done many times before—most recently with last summer’s Palm Springs—but still gives way to a bittersweet and emotional narrative.The Best Teen Rom-Coms to Watch After You Finish the To All the Boys Trilogy|Annabel Gutterman|February 12, 2021|Time
Each year comes a day much like Monday, one that starts a new month and arrives just before Groundhog Day.
He added: “People say he deserves his day in court… Do we have enough time?”Bill Maher: Hundreds of Millions of Muslims Support Attack on ‘Charlie Hebdo’|Lloyd Grove|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
For many years afterward it was a never-ending topic of conversation, and is more or less talked of even to this day.New York’s Most Tragic Ghost Loves Minimalist Swedish Fashion|Nina Strochlic|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
“We talked about the science the whole time the other day,” Krauss told The Daily Beast in a phone interview.Sleazy Billionaire’s Double Life Featured Beach Parties With Stephen Hawking|M.L. Nestel|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Gunshots rang out in Paris this morning on a second day of deadly violence that has stunned the French capital.
In the middle of all of that past suffering and present-day conflict, this Cosby bomb was dropped.
The afternoon was a lovely one—the day was a perfect example of the mellowest mood of autumn.Confidence|Henry James
Edna did not reveal so much as all this to Madame Ratignolle that summer day when they sat with faces turned to the sea.The Awakening and Selected Short Stories|Kate Chopin
Each day she resolved, "To-morrow I will tell Felipe;" and when to-morrow came, she put it off again.Ramona|Helen Hunt Jackson
There are three things a wise man will not trust: the wind, the sunshine of an April day, and woman's plighted faith.Pearls of Thought|Maturin M. Ballou
The proceedings of the day commenced with divine service, performed by Unitarian and Baptist ministers.
British Dictionary definitions for Groundhog Day
Word Origin for Groundhog Day
Cultural definitions for Groundhog Day
February 2. According to the legend of Groundhog Day, if a groundhog (a woodchuck) comes out of his hole on that day and sees his shadow, six more weeks of winter will follow. If no shadow appears, there will be an early spring.