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Groundhog Day is an annual tradition observed predominantly in the United States and Canada. Known for its distinct ritual, it uses the reaction of a groundhog to predict the progression of winter. According to folklore, if the groundhog sees its shadow due to clear weather, it will retreat back to its burrow, indicating six more weeks of winter. However, if there is no shadow due to overcast skies, it signifies an early spring.
The origin of Groundhog Day dates back to the ancient European celebration of Candlemas day, a midpoint between the winter solstice and spring equinox. Over time, German-speaking immigrants to America, known as the Pennsylvania Dutch, introduced the observance to the US. They replaced the hedgehog, originally used in medieval times, with the groundhog, native to their Pennsylvanian communities. Today, Groundhog Day remains a cultural curiosity and is majorly associated with the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, thanks to the 1993 Hollywood movie "Groundhog Day."
In the United States, the most famous celebration of Groundhog Day takes place in Punxsutawney, where thousands gather at Gobbler’s Knob. At sunrise, Punxsutawney Phil, the local celebrity groundhog, is coaxed out of his burrow to predict the season's length. The day is replete with music, food, and various entertainments designed to entertain the large crowds. This tradition is observed annually on the 2nd of February, a date chosen due to its proximity to Candlemas.
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Groundhog Day references and related siteswww.groundhog.org: www.groundhog.org/ Groundhog Day Official Website National Centers for Environmental Information: Groundhog Day