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Groundhog Day is a holiday celebrated on February 2. It is held in the United States and Canada. According to folklore, if a groundhog emerging from its burrow on this day fails to see its shadow, it will leave the burrow, signifying that winter will soon end. If on the other hand, the groundhog sees its shadow, the groundhog will supposedly retreat into its burrow, and winter will continue for six more weeks. The holiday, which began as a Pennsylvania German custom in southeastern and central Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries, has its origins in ancient European weather lore, wherein a badger or sacred bear is the prognosticator as opposed to a groundhog. The holiday also bears some similarities to the medieval Catholic holiday of Candlemas. It also bears similarities to the Pagan festival of Imbolc, the seasonal turning point of the Celtic calendar, which is celebrated on February 1 and also involves weather prognostication.

Modern customs of the holiday involve celebrations where early morning festivals are held to watch the groundhog emerging from its burrow. In southeastern Pennsylvania, Groundhog Lodges (Grundsow Lodges) celebrate the holiday with fersommlinge, social events in which food is served, speeches are made, and one or more g'spiel (plays or skits) are performed for entertainment. The Pennsylvania German dialect is the only language spoken at the event, and those who speak English pay a penalty, usually in the form of a nickel, dime or quarter, per word spoken, put into a bowl in the center of the table.

The largest Groundhog Day celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where crowds as high as 40,000 have gathered to celebrate the holiday since at least 1886. Other celebrations of note in Pennsylvania take place in Quarryville in Lancaster County, the Anthracite Region of Schuylkill County, the Sinnamahoning Valley and Bucks County. Outside of Pennsylvania, notable celebrations occur in the Frederick and Hagerstown areas of Maryland, the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia,[14] Woodstock, Illinois, Lilburn, GA and among the Amish populations of over twenty states and Wiarton,Ontario Canada. The University of Dallas in Irving, Texas has taken Groundhog Day as its official university holiday and organizes a large-scale celebration every year in honor of the Groundhog.

Groundhog Day received worldwide attention as a result of the 1993 film of the same name, Groundhog Day, which was set in Punxsutawney and featured Punxsutawney Phil.
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Quick Tip by . February 01, 2011
This is one of the dumbest holidays ever invented. If it weren't for the Bill Murray movie, I wouldn't give it a second thought. It is amazing that this is not one of the holidays that Hallmark has jumped on. They seem to have a card for almost every meaningless holiday of the year.
Quick Tip by . February 03, 2010
posted in That's Beat
A day just like any other, except on this day imprisoning animals and forcing them to perform for humans is actually celebrated. Just wrong!
Quick Tip by . February 02, 2010
Cute holiday, but I'm not so sure about a groundhog predicting weather for me! :P
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Groundhog Day
Related Topics
Punxsutawney Phil

A groundhog resident of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

A Christmas song by Jose Feliciano first released in 1970

A Christmas song by Gene Autry.

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