What is Groundhog Day?

What is Groundhog Day?

Simeon Zaragoza (12th), Reporter

Every February 2nd, I always see on the news about this holiday called groundhog day, I have personally always wondered what this holiday was about and the history behind it. After doing some compelling research, I’ve found some interesting facts about the tradition of Groundhog Day! 


According to the History website, the first Groundhog day was on February 2nd, 1887 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The whole idea about groundhog day is when a groundhog comes out of his shelter on February 2nd and sees his own shadow, that means that there are 6 more weeks of winter. If the groundhog doesn’t see their own shadow, this means that spring will come early. February 2nd is an important day according to earth science lovers because that day falls midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, in this case people use woodchucks or groundhogs to determine if we have 6 more weeks of winter or an early spring. 


The tradition of Groundhog Day started when german immigrants settled in Pennsylvania. Before the 18th century, Germans had a tradition where if small animals saw their shadow, that meant that the day would be sunny. During the latter 18th and 19th centuries when German immigrants immigrated to America, they brought that tradition with them, later creating Groundhog day!


Is groundhog day accurate? According to the National Climate Data Center, the woodchuck in Pennsylvania is about 50 percent accurate, but the woodchuck in Staten Island is about 80 percent accurate. 


I asked some of my fellow classmates about Groundhog Day and how accurate it might be. 


Averie Konefat, a senior at Pitman High School stated, “I think Groundhog Day is a  fun tradition that we have! While I don’t really believe it, I think it’s just a fun random thing to look forward to in February!”


I also asked another senior at Pitman, Sofia Bones, she states:  “ I never knew much about Groundhog Day, but I was curious a few years ago and did my research on it. I thought it was pretty interesting and I am not sure how a groundhog correlates to predicting the weather. It would be cool though to have a groundhog have 100% accuracy with predicting the weather.”


Next, I interviewed Victoria Spears, a senior at Pitman, about the same question; her response was, “ I don’t really think groundhog day is accurate… I just think it’s a fun tradition that we’ve developed over the years, and as long as we enjoy doing it and it’s making someone happy, I don’t think I’m too worried about it’s accuracy.”


Lastly I proposed the same question to Janet Cardenas, a senior at Pitman, her response was, “ Groundhog Day seems like an interesting way to determine whether or not spring will come early. I’d say it’s a fun way. I think it could be accurate given groundhogs decide whether to come out or not based on the climate.” 


Overall, Groundhog Day is a fun American tradition that stemmed from German Immigrants back in the early 18th century. It’s fun and exciting to predict if we might have more cold days or if spring might come early.  Even though it’s accuracy might be questionable, it’s always fun to celebrate and be optimistic.


If you are interested in more facts about Groundhog day, you can visit: Groundhog Day: History and Facts – HISTORY