As you are preparing for Super Bowl 50 and Valentine’s Day, don’t forget that fun quirky holiday where we toss scientific meteorological studies to the wind and await the winter forecast from the ever so lovable rodent that is a groundhog. Some towns go all out with their Groundhog Day celebrations; however no celebration could ever top Punxsutawney, PA.
Like many others, you probably are asking what the origins of Groundhog Day are, is Groundhog Day celebrated everywhere, and what exactly is a groundhog? Considering how much we love family friendly trivia, it’s time to present you with some fun trivia about Groundhogs Day. Print this page out and quiz your family, the kids, your friends, and your coworkers.
27 Family friendly groundhog and Groundhog Day fun facts and trivia
- Groundhog Day is celebrated on Feb 2
- Groundhog Day was adopted in the U.S. in 1887. Clymer H. Freas was the editor of the local paper Punxsutawney Spirit at the time, and he began promoting the town’s groundhog as the official “Groundhog Day meteorologist.”
- The first documented American reference to Groundhog Day can be found in a diary entry, dated February 4, 1841, of Morgantown, Pennsylvania, storekeeper James Morris: Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate.
- The largest Groundhog Day celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, with Punxsutawney Phil.
- Groundhog Day, already a widely recognized and popular tradition, received widespread attention as a result of the 1993 film Groundhog Day.
- The 1993 comedy movie Groundhog Day is set in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on this day. The main character is forced to relive the day over and over again until he can learn to give up his selfishness and become a better person
- In the wild, groundhogs can live up to six years with two or three being average. In captivity, groundhogs reportedly live from 9 to 14 years.
- if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring will come early
- if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter weather will persist for six more weeks
- In southeastern Pennsylvania, Groundhog Lodges (Grundsow Lodges) celebrate the holiday with fersommlinge, social events in which food is served, speeches are made, and one or more g’spiel (plays or skits) are performed for entertainment. The Pennsylvania German dialect is the only language spoken at the event, and those who speak English pay a penalty, usually in the form of a nickel, dime, or quarter per word spoken, with the money put into a bowl in the center of the table
- From England, the poem goes: If Candlemas be fair and bright, Winter has another flight. If Candlemas brings clouds and rain, Winter will not come again.
- From Scotland, the poem goes: If Candlemas Day is bright and clear, There’ll be two winters in the year.
- From Germany, the poem goes: For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day, So far will the snow swirl until May. For as the snow blows on Candlemas Day, So far will the sun shine before May.
- According to Groundhog Day organizers, the rodents’ forecasts are accurate 75% to 90% of the time.
- A Canadian study for 13 cities in the past 30 to 40 years found that the weather patterns predicted on Groundhog Day were only 37% accurate over that time period.
- According to the StormFax Weather Almanac and records kept since 1887, Punxsutawney Phil’s weather predictions have been correct 39% of the time.
- The National Climatic Data Center has described the forecasts as “on average, inaccurate” and stated that “the groundhog has shown no talent for predicting the arrival of spring, especially in recent years.”
- In Alaska, February 2 is observed as Marmot Day rather than Groundhog Day because few groundhogs exist in the state
- The largest Groundhog Day celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where crowds as large as 40,000 have gathered to celebrate the holiday since at least 1886. Other celebrations of note in Pennsylvania take place in Quarryville in Lancaster County, the Anthracite Region of Schuylkill County, and the Sinnamahoning Valley of Bucks County.
- Common predators for groundhogs include wolves, cougars, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, bears, eagles, and dogs. Young groundhogs are often at risk for predation by snakes, which easily enter the burrow.
- During New York City’s annual Groundhog Day event at the Staten Island Zoo on February 2, 2009, a groundhog named “Chuck” drew blood when biting Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gloved finger while Bloomberg was trying to lure Chuck out of his wooden shelter
- On February 2, 2014, Bloomberg’s mayoral successor, Bill de Blasio, dropped “Chuck” (subsequently revealed to be Chuck’s granddaughter, “Charlotte”), who seven days later died of “acute internal injuries”
- During Sun Prairie, Wisconsin’s annual Groundhog Day celebration on February 2, 2015, “Jimmy the Groundhog” bit Mayor Jonathan Freund’s ear while being held by Jimmy’s caretaker. The next day, Freund issued a proclamation that officially pardoned and absolved Jimmy “of any perceived wrongdoing and charges” under the city’s ordinance.
- The groundhog (Marmota monax), also known as a woodchuck, or whistlepig, is a rodent of the family Sciuridae, belonging to the group of large ground squirrels known as marmots
- Mostly herbivorous, groundhogs primarily eat wild grasses and other vegetation, including berries and agricultural crops, when available. Clover, alfalfa, dandelion, and coltsfoot are among preferred groundhog foods. Groundhogs also eat grubs, grasshoppers, insects, snails and other small animals,
- Groundhogs are one of the few species that enter into true hibernation, and often build a separate “winter burrow” for this purpose
- In most areas, groundhogs hibernate from October to March or April, but in more temperate areas, they may hibernate as little as three months.
Groundhog and Groundhog Day information was found on Wikipedia
Happy Groundhog Day!