The greatest Groundhogs Day

The greatest Groundhogs Day

Groundhogs day is a day filled with celebration and tradition. It helps us decide whether we are welcoming spring early or not. Some places in the US even have their own variations of Groundhogs Day. For example “Sand Mountain Sam” the opossum from Alabama, “Chattanooga chuck” from Tennessee and many more.


Every year, Groundhogs Day is celebrated on February 2. The roots of Groundhogs Day derive from “Candlemas”, a Christian tradition. They used candles to predict how long the winter would last, then they used a hedgehog, then finally the groundhogs we know today. The tradition of using groundhogs began in the year 1887 in the town Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. 


“I think groundhog day is a fun holiday where people try to predict the upcoming season.” Rain McDonald, a student at S9 says. “I think that maybe the animal has some sense in the weather and seasons but ultimately I don’t think that it’s really the deciding factor,” Kate Pethel, another student at S9 says.


Most people have memories about Groundhogs Day from kindergarten or elementary school. People commonly colored coloring pages and made predictions about if the groundhog will see its shadow or not. In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, it’s a different story. Each year, 40,000 people attend the Groundhogs Day celebration to see if they will greet spring early this year.


“I remember doing a Groundhogs Day lesson in kindergarten where we colored in groundhogs and voted on what we thought the groundhog would do,” McDonald states.


A significant part of Groundhogs day is the prediction for the upcoming spring. Out of the 6 people I interviewed, 3 people said that spring will come early and the three other people said we will have a longer winter. The most well known groundhog, “Punxsutawney Phil” had a 39% accuracy rate. The groundhog with the most accurate predictions is a groundhog called “Staten Island Chuck” with a 80% correct prediction rate.


“I personally don’t know much about Groundhogs Day but I guess I’ll predict that spring will come on time, ” Pethel states.


Many people don’t know about the alternate versions of the groundhog we all know. For example, Sand mountain Sam the Opossum is located here in north Alabama, instead of calling it Groundhogs Day they call it Opossum day. There are also different names for the groundhogs in each state like Chattanooga Chuck, Sir Walter Wally, Octorara Orphie and many more.