Groundhog Day is on Thursday, February 2. Punxsutawney Phil is the official spokes animal for this event.
This tradition came via German immigrants who became known as Pennsylvania Dutch. They brought the tradition to America in the 18th century. They celebrated, Candlemas. This commemorates the ritual purification of Mary, 40 days after the birth of Jesus. This is when baby Jesus was brought to the Temple.
Candlemas is the mid-point between the first day of winter and the first day of spring. They believed if is sunny on Candlemas, then the remaining six weeks of winter would be stormy and cold. If it rainy or snowy on Candlemas, then the rest of the winter would be mild. This is where the hibernating animal, like a groundhog, seeing his shadow comes into this story. It has to be sunny to see a shadow.
Here is a link for craft activities. If you wanna watch this event, then look for a live broadcast at 6am EST February 2nd at a Punxsutawney, PA station online.
We don’t celebrate Groundhog Day in Hemet like they do in PA, instead we watch Mojave Max a Desert Tortiose emerge from brumation.
Mojave Max lives in Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas, NV. Every fall the hot Las Vegas weather cools off, and Max goes into his burrow to begin brumation. When will he emerge? That is the question contestants in grades K-12 need to answer. You can enter this free contest online. You can also see past emergence times on their site.
I think Groundhog’s Day is a good time to discuss the weather, whether you are interested or not. (pun intended)
The Weather Underground
The Weather Channel
The Weather Dude
USA Today Weather
National Weather Service