Thursday, February 2, 2017 is Groundhog Day, so what better time than now to look back on the origins of the quirky holiday. Groundhog Day is celebrated every year on February 2, but while the date remains the same, what the groundhog ends up doing is always up in the air.
If it’s sunny out and the groundhog sees its shadow, it will retreat back into its burrow, and we’ll be stuck with six more weeks of winter. If it’s cloudy out and the groundhog doesn’t see its shadow, it will leave its burrow, and we’ll get an early spring.
Now that you know the gist of Groundhog Day, let’s take a deeper dive into the holiday.
Groundhog Day History
The first official Groundhog Day in the United States took place on February 2, 1887. The custom was created by the Pennsylvania Dutch, and it took inspiration from European folklore. Groundhog Day celebrations take place all over the U.S. and Canada, but the biggest spectacle is still in Pennsylvania.
At Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, massive crowds as large as 40,000 people gather to participate in the festivities. There is music, food, and speeches all leading up to the main event of groundhog Punxsutawney Phil getting his prognostication on.
Early Thursday morning, Phil will emerge from his burrow to make his prediction on whether or not we’ll get an early spring. There’s not really any evidence that Phil actually knows what the hell he’s doing. His results have been a mixed bag over the years, but there’s no reason to let a little thing like accuracy get in the way of a good time.
Groundhog Day Gambling
For all of the true degenerates out there, Inquisitr currently has the odds of Phil seeing his shadow at 1-3 and him not seeing his shadow at 11-5. You can live stream the celebration in Punxsutawney here starting at 6:00 a.m. ET on Thursday to get the most excitement out of your reckless wager.
Groundhog Day Movie
As a huge Bill Murray fan, I’d be remiss to write an entire post about Groundhog Day without touching on Murray’s iconic film. Groundhog Day was released in 1993, and the movie was both a critical and commercial success. The comedy made $70.9 million at the box office on a $14.6 million budget, and it currently boats a 96% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
In Groundhog Day, Murray plays a Pittsburgh TV weatherman named Phil Connors. Connors is pretty much a huge jerk, and he gets stuck in a time loop while covering Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney. After living the same day over and over again, he learns from his mistakes and makes changes for the better.
You can check out the trailer for Groundhog Day below, and starting at 9:00 a.m. ET on Thursday, the film will run continuously on AMC all day long.