Groundhog Day 2020 – Fun Facts – Folklore and Weather Prediction

February 2 is recognized as National Groundhog day and celebrated through out the country as a fun way to predict spring.  Don’t know what a national day is?  Find out all about these special days in my National Days Guide.Folklore has it that the groundhog is a good predictor of the weather. But how often has he really been right?

It is fun to discover more about unusual animals by giving them national days to honor them.  Check out National Ferret Day for another fun national animal day. This day is a national day celebrated in April.

Much of the country is covered in snow in early February, and many people have had enough of winter.  It is no wonder that a common question on National Groundhog day is “will the groundhog see his shadow at Gobbler’s Knob on February 2?”

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What does it mean if the Groundhog sees his shadow on National Groundhog Day?

According to folklore, the groundhog is seen as a sort of weather predictor on February 2 each year.  Tradition tells us that, if the day is a sunny one and the groundhog sees his shadow, he will be scared and will retreat back into his burrow.  

Then, winter weather will last at least another six weeks.  On the other hand, if the day is cloudy when the groundhog emerges from his burrow, this means that he will come out and spring will be early that year.

Although several states have adopted their own groundhog for this day, the official groundhog is thought to be Punxsutawney Phil, who lives at Gobbler’s Knob near Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

Thousands of visitors have visited the town over the years to take part in the various groundhog festivities that take place there on February 2.

In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, modern customs involve early morning celebrations to watch the groundhog emerge from its burrow as well as day long festivities.

This year marks the 134th trek to Punxsutawney, Pa for the festivities!

The activities include lots of food being served, and skits and plays are performed. Of course, Phil the groundhog is presented to the crowd as the weather is predicted.Groundhog in the sun

I can remember my parents talking about Groundhog Day in my home in the early days of my childhood, but the day seemed to get much more attention by the country when Bill Murray starred in the famous 1993 movie Groundhog Day.

Murray played the part of a weatherman, covering Groundhog Day festivities in PA., who found himself in a time loop where the same day was repeated over and over.

The tradition of National Groundhog Day dates back to the time when early German settlers in Pennsylvania had a tradition that if the sun was shining on Candlemas Day (February 2) –  the snow would still be falling in May.

Some early settlers even adopted groundhogs, which were plentiful in the area at this time, as harbingers of the weather. This poem tells us of the tradition:

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again.Groundhog eating a carrot

Weather forecast for Punxsutawney, PA on Groundhog’s Day

The weather prediction for February 2, 2020 in Punxsutawney, PA calls for mainly c;oudy skies and a slight chance of precipitation. This should mean an early spring this year.

However, since Phil doesn’t always do what the weather man says he’ll likely do, who knows whether he will see his shadow on National Groundhog Day or not?

Groundhog Day weather for 2020

Movies and Books about Groundhog Day

There are lots of fun facts associated with Punxsutawney Phil. My favorite is when Phil decided, during the prohibition years, that there would be 60 more weeks of winter if he were not allowed a drink!

Other fun facts about Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog

  • Phil has been predicting the weather sine the late 1880s!
  • Phil has a wife named Phyllis.
  • Punxsutawney Phil hangs out at the local town library.
  • The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s inner circle, of which there are 15 members, is responsible for Phil.
  • Phil was reportedly named after King Phillip
  • Other names for Phil are Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary.
  • According to folklore, there is only one Punxsutawney Phil – he says all the others are impostors!

How often has Punxsutawney Phil been right in predicting the weather?

Various reports say about 47% of the time. So, we might be as lucky finding out when spring will come by flipping a coin, but a groundhog sure is a cuter way to predict spring!

Some reports, such as those from Stormfax Almanac are as low as 39% accuracy.Groundhog day cartoon

Check out the live stream for Punxsutawney Phil’s forecast.

Since I love to garden I am cheering for Phil to come out of his burrow to very cloudy skies.  I’m ready for spring so that I can get out in my garden!  How about you?

Pin this post about National Groundhog Day for later.

Would you like a reminder of this post for about Punxsutawney Phil?  Just pin this image to one of your holiday boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.Punxsutawney Phil predicting the weather for National Groundhog day

Image source Wikimedia Commons

Be sure to check out this post to discover more about the National Days in February and be sure to also print out my February National Day Calendar.

Admin note: This post first appeared on the blog in February of 2017. I have updated the post to add new photos, and additional facts about Punxsutawney Phil.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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