Groundhog Day 2011, like every year, falls on the 2nd of February. It is observed in the United States and Canada. But this is not so for all the states. While Groundhog Day may be a part of the US public holidays 2011 and the US bank holidays 2011 list, it is not a compulsory holiday declared by the government. State-wise holidays may vary. So check beforehand if your state observes Groundhog Day as a public holiday or not.
History of Groundhog Day
Now that we know when Groundhog Day is observed, how about getting to know a little about some Groundhog Day history. It will help you understand better why this day is so important. Ever heard of Punxsutawney Phil? Groundhog day is observed because of this groundhog. Yes, you read that right. The day is indeed about a groundhog. Punxsutawney is the name of a weather forecasting groundhog. He lives in his burrow on Gobler’s Knob, Punxsutawney in Pennsylvania, for a short period preceding the 2nd of February. Otherwise, he lives downtown with another groundhog called Phyllis. On the 2nd of February, Phil comes out from his burrow and looks for his shadow. If he sees his shadow and goes back into the burrow, then the United States will have an extended winter of six weeks more. But if he cannot see his shadow, and he remains outside, it means winter will soon end and spring will arrive very shortly. He communicates this to the president of the Inner Circle, the group of people who look after him. He does this in a secret language called Groundhogese, which apparently only the president of the Inner Circle can understand. Phil has been ‘predicting’ the length of winter in this manner since almost a century now and they have always been 100% accurate. It is obvious for you to wonder how a regular groundhog can live for so long. Legend has it that Phil has been given a potion with a secret recipe over the years. This potion has the power to extend the life of the groundhog by 6 years, every time he drinks it.
Groundhog Day Celebrations
Groundhog Day is celebrated with much aplomb in the United States of America and also in Canada. People come in scores to visit Punxsutawney Phil. They wait eagerly, camping days in advance, to see the small groundhog emerge from his burrow, check for his shadow and either go back in or stay out. The Inner Circle generally organizes an annual function on this occasion to honor Phil. He gets a lot of media attention as well. People rejoice when they hear it is time for winter to end and celebrate by eating sweets and singing and dancing.
No one knows how, but all of Phil’s predictions since the 1800’s have come true. It is indeed mysterious and quite intriguing to rely on a groundhog’s prediction for a weather report. Nonetheless, let’s wait for Groundhog Day 2011 and check what he has to say about winter this year.