Not just another Bill Murray movie

by Gwen Pearson

Groundhog Day is annually celebrated on Feb. 2. On this day, several famous groundhogs comes out of their burrows, often times being dragged, to determine if there will be an early spring or not. These groundhogs eat very unlike their native counterparts. Wild groundhogs tend to eat wild grasses and other vegetation. Punxsutawney Phil is one of these pampered rodents and he has a steady diet of dog food and ice cream.
Folklore says the groundhog will stay above ground if it is cloudy, meaning an early spring, but the groundhog will go back into its hole if it sees its shadow. Supposedly the groundhog does this because the weather is too cold for the groundhog, when in reality, the groundhog is just scared of the shadow that its body gives off.
Many states celebrate Groundhog Day in their own way, each state having its own groundhog, Iowa’s being Polk County Paula. Officially, the largest celebration is held in Pennsylvania every year. This is because the modern day version of Groundhog Day was started there in 1841, which happens to be the date of the first documented reference in the form of a journal entry to be found by the German settlers who made their home there. As of today, at least 40,000 people celebrate Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pa. In other countries, Groundhog Day is known as Candlemas and is what is known to have started the modern day Groundhog Day in America. In some places where there are no groundhogs, they use other animals such as hedgehogs or badgers. In Alaska, they call it Marmot Day due to the lack of groundhogs in the area.