Groundhog Day occurs on February 2nd in the United States and Canada. Tradition involves a groundhog (a small rodent) emerging from its burrow; according to folklore, if the groundhog sees its shadow, expect six more weeks of winter. If it doesn’t see its shadow, plan on spring arriving early!

Groundhog Day can be traced back to ancient European weather lore. Early German settlers brought the tradition to North America, particularly Pennsylvania. The Germans believed that if a hibernating animal — like a hedgehog — saw its shadow on Candlemas Day (February 2nd), there would be six more weeks of winter.

In the 1880s, the tradition evolved in the United States to using groundhogs instead of hedgehogs. The most famous groundhog associated with this tradition is Punxsutawney Phil in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Punxsutawney Phil’s predictions are widely covered in the media, and Groundhog Day has become a lighthearted and widely celebrated event in North America.
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