Middle School

Story & Questions: The Groundhog Legend

The origin of they groundhog legend is based on the old Scotch couplet, “If Candlemas Day is bright and clear, there’ll be two winters in the year.”

During the conquering of Northern Europe, the Romans brought this tradition to the Germans. They concluded that if the sun made an appearance on February 2nd, which is Candlemas Day, an animal would cast a shadow, thus six more weeks of bad weather, known as two winters.

Pennsylvania’s earliest settlers were Germans. They found many groundhogs in the state. They determined that the groundhog was the most intelligent and sensible animal.

Records show that in the early 1800’s people from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania began to celebrate every year by going into the woods to honor the Punxsutawney Groundhog as the only true weather prognosticator. This group soon became known as the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club and they placed the official groundhog home just outside of town on Gobbler’s Knob.

The first official trek to Gobbler’s knob was made on February 2, 1887. Each February 2nd since, thousands of people celebrate Groundhog Day by making the trip to Gobbler’s Knob to get the official word of the world’s only true weather forecaster. The rest of the day is filled with activities including: the annual Groundhog Banquet, crowning of the Groundhog King and Queen, school assemblies, craft shows, and activities for entire families.

Download the full story along with questions.