What is Groundhog Day?

2 Feb

February 2 is Groundhog Day in the US and Canada.

And as anyone who’s seen the Bill Murray movie knows, it’s an occasion on which patriotic Americans gather together to punch Ned Ryerson in the face. No wait, that’s no true. Although it was very satisfying to watch.

Anyway, the real name of the game is to see whether it will be a short or long winter. And it’s here groundhogs such as Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil (star of the 1993 movie) really earn their keep.

Folklore says on this particular day the groundhog comes out of his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow. If he sees it and retreats back to his burrow there will be six more weeks of winter. If the day is cloudy and therefore shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.

Phil only shares his prediction with the president of the Inner Circle, Billy Deeley. Last year he saw an early spring so it will be interesting to see what he comes up with this year.

In the meantime, here’s a couple of fun and (mostly) factual tidbits from his official website

• Phil has been predicting weather for more than 120 years. He is accurate 100 percent of the time.
• Phil travelled to Washington DC to meet President Ronald Reagan in 1986.
• Phil appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1995.

And now let’s watch that scene again…

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2 Responses to “What is Groundhog Day?”

  1. Lauren February 2, 2012 at 8:24 am #

    This movie is so funny.

    • whatcanilearntoday February 2, 2012 at 9:01 am #

      Agreed! And who would have ever thought Sonny and Cher could be such an effective instrument of torture 🙂

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