Category Archives: Ground Hog Day

Ground Hog Day

February 2, 2021

It’s February 2nd—Groundhog Day.  So Historic Jacksonville, Inc. is treating you to a “special edition” of our new Holiday History blog!  And once again we have the Germans and the Victorian Era to thank for another U.S. holiday custom.

According to this tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole on February 2nd and sees its shadow, it gets scared and runs back into its burrow, predicting six more weeks of winter weather.  No shadow means an early spring.  The earliest mention of Groundhog Day in the U.S. is a February 2nd 1840 diary entry commenting on a Pennsylvania “Dutch” celebration. The first reported news of a Groundhog Day observance was arguably made by the Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, in 1886.  However, it was not until the following year in 1887 that what is considered the first “official” Groundhog Day was celebrated there, with a group making a trip to the Gobbler’s Knob part of town to consult the groundhog.  

So how did a groundhog become a weather forecaster?  And just how accurate is he at this job?

Visit our new Holiday History “blog” at  And while you’re on our website, enjoy some of our other virtual tours and regular history trivia!