Groundhog Day 2023: What is it, when is it - meaning behind American tradition explained
Groundhog Day isn’t just a popular film starring Bill Murray - here’s the real tradition explained.
Groundhog Day is here, and many people will be familiar with the day due to the Bill Murray 1993 comedy but some may not know what the real life celebration is about. The day doesn’t hold too much importance in the UK but in the United States it’s highly anticipated.
Many people in America will desperately await the exciting event which sees Punxsutawney Phil, the ‘Groundhog’ (a North American rodent) based in Pennsylvania, cast his prophecy on the weather we can expect in 2023.
The cult classic film follows the lore of the day through the perspective of Bill Murray’s character Phil, a TV weatherman who is sent to cover the tradition in Punxsutawney. During his stay things go awry and he begins waking up experiencing the same day over and over again with no explanation.
The popular event has been held every year since 1886, however, the event organisers were forced to cancel in 2021 due to Covid. So, what is Groundhog Day? Here’s everything you need to know about the famous American tradition.
What is Groundhog Day?
Traditionally, Groundhog Day in the town sees resident rodent Punxsutawney Phil emerge from Gobbler’s Knob to indicate whether winter will last six more weeks or whether spring will arrive early.
The rules state that If Punxsutawney Phil emerges on a fair and clear day, then winter will continue for another six weeks. If he emerges to cloudy conditions, however, spring will dawn early that year.
The tradition comes from an old English saying which goes:
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings cloud and rain,
Winter will not come again.
When is Groundhog Day?
Groundhog Day is held on February 2 every year. It is the same day as the Christian festival of Candlemas.