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How Groundhog Day is Celebrated

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day in Panksatoni 2005
Type offolk
Valuefirst meeting of spring
Is celebratedAmericans and Canadians, partly Germans
dateFebruary 2
Traditionsfortune telling about the weather in spring
Associated with40th day after Christmas
Wikimedia Commons Media Files

Groundhog Day (Eng. Groundhog Day) is a traditional holiday in the USA and Canada, celebrated annually on February 2. It is believed that on this day you need to watch the groundhog crawling out of its hole. By his behavior, one can judge the proximity of the onset of spring. According to the legend, if the day is cloudy, the groundhog does not see its shadow and calmly leaves the hole, which means that winter will end soon and spring will be early. If the day is sunny, the groundhog sees its shadow and, frightened of it, hides back in the hole - there will be another six weeks of winter. In several cities and settlements of the USA and Canada, festivals are held on this day dedicated to the local meteorological groundhogs, which attract many tourists.


In ancient Rome, Hedgehog Day was celebrated on February 2 [ non-authoritative source? ]. The meteorological forecast for this day was based on the behavior of an awakened hedgehog who saw or did not see his shadow. The peoples of Western Europe maintained this tradition in later periods. In northern Germany, a badger awoke at that time (in some places - a bear), and by its behavior, the duration of the cold and the timing of the onset of spring were judged.

Early American references to Groundhog Day originate from the traditions of German immigrants, known as the Pennsylvania Dutch, who brought their customs to America in the 18th century. In North America, where no hedgehogs or badgers were found, the role of the meteorologist went to the groundhog. So, on the basis of the belief associated with the groundhog, a tradition was born that was developed by members of the Groundhog Club from Panksatoni. Groundhog Day became an official holiday in 1886.

On February 2 (15), Christians celebrate the Meeting of the Lord (Thunder). The Scottish proverb is popular in the USA: If Candlemas Day is bright and clear, there’ll be two winters in the year (The Day of Meeting is bright and clear - to be two winters in a year). In Belarus, a proverb is known according to which a bear flips on its other side that day. Banat Bulgarians spoke about the behavior of the she-bear on this day: “The Bear at Sretenie crawls out of the den to see its shadow. If the day is sunny and the bear sees its shadow, she turns on the other side to continue her dream. This means that another 40 days will be cold. " There is a saying among German settlers in Pennsylvania: “If a groundhog sees its shadow, it means that there will be another six weeks of winter” (German Wann die Grundsau ihre Schatte seht, noch sechs Wochen Winter ist me esent).

Phenology [edit |