Groundhog Day is a traditional holiday celebrated on February 2. According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then the spring season will arrive early, some time before the vernal equinox; if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its den, and winter weather will persist for six more weeks.
Modern customs of the holiday involve early morning celebrations to watch the groundhog emerging from its burrow.
In southeastern Pennsylvania, Groundhog Lodges celebrate the holiday with social events in which food is served. Also, speeches are made and one or more 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.
History of Groundhog Day
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. Freas began promoting the town’s groundhog as the official “Groundhog Day meteorologist”.