Updated on February 17, 2017
The History of Groundhog Day: How Did it Start?
Groundhog Day is a tradition that dates back several years, and it happens every February. However, this got us thinking: How did it start? That’s why we’ve created a post on the history of Groundhog Day. Hopefully it’ll answer any questions you might have about the holiday, too.
Groundhog Day was officially founded in 1887 in Punxsutawney, PA, according to the History Channel. Many people are familiar with the holiday’s traditions because of the Bill Murray comedy of the same name. However, there is more to the holiday than you might think. It actually has its roots in the Christian tradition of Candlemas Day. This is a centuries-old holiday that involves the burning of candles to see how long winter will last. The Germanic peoples of middle Europe expanded the tradition using hedgehogs to determine the weather—a strange substitution for which there is little explanation.
For those familiar with the state of Pennsylvania, where Groundhog Day was founded, you’ll probably recognize that the area was settled by many Germans. In fact, the term Pennsylvania Dutch is actually a corruption of the word for German, Deutsch, one reason the area has the name. In short, the Germans who settled in Pennsylvania carried on the tradition in the States using groundhogs.
Although many question the accuracy of the predictions, it’s still a fun way to celebrate the changing seasons. We can’t wait to see if this year’s prediction holds true!