ground Hog Day

Ground Hog Day

ground Hog Day

Groundhog Day is a holiday celebrated on February 2nd in the United States and Canada. The holiday is based on the belief that the groundhog will come out of its burrow on this day. If it sees its shadow due to clear weather, it will retreat back into its burrow, indicating six more weeks of winter. If the groundhog does not see its shadow due to cloudy weather, it is believed that spring will arrive early.

How It Started

The holiday has its roots in the ancient Christian holiday of Candlemas, which was celebrated on February 2nd and marked the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. The holiday was later combined with a pagan festival that celebrated the end of winter and the arrival of spring.

The modern celebration of Groundhog Day began in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, in 1887. A group of groundhog hunters called the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club held the first official Groundhog Day celebration. Since then, the Punxsutawney groundhog, known as Punxsutawney Phil, has been the most famous in the United States. Thousands of people gather in Punxsutawney each year to witness the groundhog’s prediction.


Locally in Northumberland, we have Warkworth Wilma, the first and only female prognosticator. Wilma arrived in Northumberland roughly 15 years ago with Patrick Muldoon, a former teacher from Campbellford and current librarian at Warkworth Library. Wilma resides in her burrow in the parking lot behind the library. Follow Wilma year-round and learn some cool groundhog facts by following her on Instagram!

The February 2nd celebration has also been popularized in popular culture. The most notable example is the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray. The movie tells the story of a cynical weatherman stuck reliving the same day repeatedly in the small town of Punxsutawney until he finally learns to appreciate the people and events around him.



The accuracy of the groundhog’s prediction is not scientifically proven, and the holiday is primarily a light-hearted tradition. I hope Wilma does not see her shadow, because who isn’t wishing to welcome an early spring?

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