Groundhog Day - A Fun Observance in the US & Canada

What is Groundhog Day? 
Groundhog Day is a observed every February 2nd in the morning around sunrise, when the groundhog wakes up. 

While Groundhog Day is not an official holiday or a day off of school or work, some who follow this holiday look forward to watching Punxsutawney Phil's predicition on TV, or if lucky enough, in person in Punxsutawney (also known as Punxsy, for short), Pennsylvania, USA! 

Let's learn a little more about this unique celebration through some interesting videos. 
 


When is Groundhog Day? 
Groundhog Day falls on February 2nd every year. 

What is the meaning of Groundhog day? 
Groundhog Day is meant as an unofficial weather prediction event (the 2014 televised viewing is below). If, when the groundhog awakes, he comes out of his burrow, spring will come early. If the groundhog sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. Most people believe that if the groundhog sees his shadow, winter will be longer than if he "doesn't" and emerges from his burrow. 


How is Groundhog Day celebrated? 
Groundhog Day is not an official holiday. No one gets a day off of school or work. We could consider Groundhog Day an observance, rather than a holiday. The day is observed by noting if the groundhog sees his shadow upon waking. Normally, the recording of the shadow is done about 7:15-7:30am on the morning of February 2nd, around the time of sunrise. 

Small Talk Conversations 
As this is really an unofficial holiday, saying Happy Groundhog's Day is very uncommon, unless maybe you are celebrating at one of the festival sites, the most popular being Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. However, Americans who follow it may talk about it in passing, by saying any of the following: 
  • "The groundhog saw his shadow. What a relief! Hopefully spring will come soon!" 
  • "The groundhog did not see his shadow.... when will winter end?" 
  • "Whether the groundhog sees his shadow or not, it doesn't matter! Winter will end when it ends!"  
Small Talk in Punxsy
If you visit the town of Punxsy, you will be happy to find out how friendly all the people who live there are. They seem to like tourists, and want to help you find our way around or help you with taking photos. I (Jennifer Kumar) visited Punxsy in April 2015, and really had a nice time, although it was way too short. In fact, all the photos in this post were taken by me when we visited and meandered through the quaint surroundings. 
 
The Groundhog's Popularity 
While the most famous groundhog is Punxsutawney Phil, there are many other groundhogs representing various towns or areas of the US and Canada, as noted in the video below. 


I would be amiss not to share the other most popular culture reference to Groundhog Day - which is the movie by the same name, Groundhog Day. This is one of my favorite movies. The premise is that a disgruntled weatherman who is assigned to cover Groundhog Day finds himself trapped in a time warp where he repeats the same day over and over until he learns how to be a better person. It's a great movie that has a lot of personal development lessons. A clip from the movie with Bill Murray is below. 

http://nblo.gs/12Wa8e


Jennifer Kumar, author of this post, helps bridge the culture gap for expats and other international professionals working with Americans on virtual teams or when coming to the U.S. to work onsite. Contact us for more information. 

Related Posts: Other Holidays in February 
Superbowl Sunday, the First Sunday of February 
Valentine's Day - February 14    

Other holidays in 2016  |   2017 

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