Groundhog Day is celebrated on February 2nd. The day is based on the traditional myths that it marks the beginning of a new season. Groundhog day begins by when the groundhog comes out of the ground from its burrow. If it is a sunny day and if the sunlight shines upon the groundhog, it will naturally go back to its burrow. This day usually marks the beginning of the spring. However, if it is not sunny, it means that the winter will only persist for another six weeks after which spring will come.
Some people celebrate this day by making morning feasts while observing groundhogs coming out of the grounds. Some people also conduct events where people make speeches regarding this day and serve food to the audience. Groundhog Day has become a major tradition and is recognized widely since huge celebrations take place dominantly in Pennsylvania. In the early 90s a film was also made called ‘Groundhog Day’ in which Bill Murray played a lead role. This film further added to the popularity of this tradition.
Origins of Groundhog Day
One of the first mentions of this day was made back in 1841 where it was stated that if a groundhog comes out and finds sunlight, it goes back in its burrow to sleep for another 6 weeks, but if the weather is cloudy, it stays out and enjoys the weather. Moreover, there are several western countries that marked the beginning of spring based on Groundhog Day. Such countries welcomed spring, and still do so, exactly 6 to 7 weeks after Groundhog Day. There were several conflicts in the past due to different calendars since many believed that spring was marked based on the length of day while others linked it to the daylight and its progress. To settle this confusion it was agreed that spring should be marked based on the behavior of a groundhog and soon this tradition gained general acceptance among the societies.
Where Does Celebration Occur?
Groundhog Day is mainly celebrated in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.There are other places that celebrate this day as well including Quarrville and Bucks County among many others.
Accuracy of the Event
It seems quite silly to predict climatic changes based on the behavior of a rodent, but it has been observed that a mere rodent is correct around 80-90% of the time; more accurate than most forecasters. Although there are other studies as well that have taken a sample of 40 years and have come to a conclusion that the success rate of a groundhog to predict climatic change is less than 50%. National Climatic Data Center also does not support the prediction based on Groundhog Day and has disregarded it openly.
All in all, Groundhog Day is a bit silly, but there’s no doubt it’s a spectacle. You can also be sure that you’ll hear plenty about it on the news in the days leading up to the event and the days after the event.
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