|Groundhog Day is a festival celebrated in the USA and Canada
on February 2.
The groundhog tradition stems from similar beliefs associated with Candlemas Day and Hedgehog Day. Though the date is often referred to as one of the four quarter days of the year (the midpoints between the spring and fall equinoxes and the summer and winter solstice), it is in fact one of the Cross-quarter days.
The first Groundhog Day was observed in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on February 2, 1887.
Tradition states that one must observe a groundhog's burrow on this day. If the groundhog emerges and fails to see its shadow because the weather is cloudy, winter will soon end; however, if the groundhog sees its shadow because the weather is bright and clear, it will be frightened and run back into its hole, and the winter will continue for six more weeks. Certain small towns have well-known meteorological groundhogs, such as Punxsutawney Phil (made famous by the Groundhog Day movie) and Wiarton Willie. Recently Shubenacadie Sam was introduced in Nova Scotia. The official groundhog forecaster for New York City is Staten Island Chuck.
The U.S. tradition derived from a Scottish couplet:
If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
Indeed, bright clear weather in a North American winter is often associated with very cold temperatures.