What Day Is Groundhog Day, History Environmental Information

What Day Is Groundhog Day, Video, Musical Tickets


Groundhog Day (Canadian French: Jour de la Marmotte; Pennsylvania German: Grundsaudaag, Murmeltiertag) is a traditional holiday originating in the United States that is celebrated on February 2. According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then the spring season will arrive early, some time before the vernal equinox; if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its den, and winter weather will persist for six more weeks.

Modern customs of the holiday involve early morning celebrations to watch the groundhog emerging from its burrow.


In southeastern Pennsylvania, Groundhog Lodges (Grundsow Lodges) celebrate the holiday with fersommlinge,social events in which food is served, speeches are made, and one or more g'spiel (plays or skits) are performed for entertainment. The Pennsylvania German dialect is the only language spoken at the event, and those who speak English pay a penalty, usually in the form of a nickel, dime, or quarter per word spoken, with the money put into a bowl in the center of the table.

Groundhog Day was adopted in the U.S. in 1887. Clymer H. Freas was the editor of the local paper Punxsutawney Spirit at the time, and he began promoting the town’s groundhog as the official "Groundhog Day meteorologist".

The largest Groundhog Day celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, with Punxsutawney Phil. Groundhog Day, already a widely recognized and popular tradition,received widespread attention as a result of the 1993 film Groundhog Day.

Groundhog Day
The Groundhog Day

History of Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day originates from an ancient celebration of the midway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox—the day right in the middle of astronomical winter. According to superstition, sunny skies that day signify a stormy and cold second half of winter while cloudy skies indicate the arrival of warm weather.

The trail of Phil’s history leads back to Clymer H. Freas, city editor of the Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper. Inspired by a group of local groundhog hunters—whom he would dub the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club—Freas declared Phil as America’s official forecasting groundhog in 1887. As he continued to embellish the groundhog's story year after year, other newspapers picked it up, and soon everyone looked to Punxsutawney Phil for the prediction of when spring would return to the country.



Alternative origin theories

In some western countries in the Northern Hemisphere, the 'official' first day of spring is almost seven weeks (46–48 days) after Groundhog Day, on March 20 or March 21; in others, that date is traditionally the middle of spring, just as the solstice in June is midsummer day.

The custom could have been a folk embodiment of the confusion created by the collision of two calendar systems. Some ancient traditions marked the change of season at cross-quarter days such as Imbolc when daylight first makes significant progress against the night. Other traditions held that spring did not begin until the length of daylight overtook night at the Vernal Equinox. So an arbiter, the groundhog/hedgehog, was incorporated as a yearly custom to settle the two traditions. Sometimes spring begins at Imbolc, and sometimes winter lasts six more weeks until the equinox.

Another theory states that the groundhog naturally comes out of hibernation in central Pennsylvania in early February because of the increasing average temperature; under this theory, if German settlement had been centered further north, Groundhog Day would take place at a later date.However, observation of groundhogs in central New Jersey is that they mostly come out of their burrows in mid-March, regardless of Groundhog Day weather.



From England English Saying Poem:

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again.

From Scotland:

If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
There'll be two winters in the year.

From Germany:

For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
So far will the snow swirl until May.
For as the snow blows on Candlemas Day,
So far will the sun shine before May.

And from America:

If the sun shines on Groundhog Day;
Half the fuel and half the hay.

Groundhog Day
The Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day (film)

Since the 1993 release of the film Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray as a TV weatherman (who wakes up and it's Groundhog Day over and over again!) and Andie MacDowell as his puzzled producer, attendance at the real event has expanded.  In 1997, there were 35,000 visitors in Punxsutawney, five times the Jefferson County town's 6,700 population.

The Groundhog Day festivities on February 2, 1992 were joined by Bill Murray studying for his role in the movie.  Then, Columbia Pictures set out to recreate the Punxsutawney Groundhog Day down to the smallest detail.  There were, however, many changes made.

Columbia Pictures decided to film the movie in a location more accessible to a major metropolitan center.  The highways in and around Punxsutawney were few, so Woodstock, Illinois was chosen as the site.  Unfortunately, Woodstock's landscape doesn't have Pennsylvania's scenic rolling hills.  Nevertheless, adjustments were made for the production.  The actual Gobbler's Knob is a wooded hill with a beautiful view; the Gobbler's Knob in the movie is moved to the town square.  The Punxsutawney Gobbler's Knob was recreated to scale in Woodstock's town square based on detailed notes and videos the crew made on it's visit to Punxsutawney.  

The movie's script was changed to include the elaborate ceremony of the Inner Circle on Groundhog Day.  The original groundhog cast for the movie was considered to be too small.

Some of the store names in Punxsutawney were used in the movie, such as The Smart Shop and Stewart's Drug Store.  Punxsutawney's police cars were also recreated for the movie.  The groundhog-head trash cans and Groundhog Festival flags that line the streets of Punxsutawney were displayed.  Folks traveling to Punxsutawney to see the "Punxsutawney" they saw in the movie wonder why it looks "so different, yet seems so similar."



Production

Prior to Murray's casting, Tom Hanks and Michael Keaton turned down the lead role. In the original screenplay by Danny Rubin, the story line began mid-narrative with Phil already inexplicably trapped in the time loop, and ended with his suicide, only to awaken on the morning of February 2 once again. In that version, Rita eventually confessed to being trapped in a time loop of her own.Many critical script alterations were written as filming progressed, according to Stephen Tobolowsky, who played Ned Ryerson. "When I got the part, it was still kind of a mediocre Bill Murray movie," he said. "You know, Bill Murray, with no consequences, in comic situations ... It wasn’t until we got into the shooting that everything turned on its head. And it became not only a good movie, not only a great movie, but a classic."

During filming, Ramis and Murray's longtime collaboration and friendship ended abruptly, without public explanation. Except for a few words at a wake, and later at a bar mitzvah, the two men did not speak for almost 20 years after the film's release. Murray finally initiated a reconciliation—at the suggestion of his brother—only after Ramis entered the final stages of his terminal illness.

The film was shot in Woodstock, Illinois, 60 miles (97 kilometres) northwest of Chicago near the Wisconsin border, because Punxsutawney "didn’t have a town center that looked good on camera", according to Ramis,and because Punxsutawney's remote location magnified the logistical problems and expense of filming there.Punxsutawney officials, miffed that their town had been passed over, refused to allow the real Punxsutawney Phil to appear in the movie,but sent representatives to Woodstock to make sure the ceremony was being depicted accurately.(Punxsutawney's actual Groundhog Day celebration is held not in the town itself, but in a clearing atop a wooded hill called Gobbler's Knob, about 2 miles (3.2 kilometres) southeast of Punxsutawney.

Punxsutawney Phil was played by a series of groundhogs collectively known as Scooter. "[The animals] hated my guts from day one," said Murray, who was bitten twice during shooting, severely enough that he was forced to undergo precautionary rabies immunization afterward.

The Tip Top Cafe, where many indoor scenes took place, was a set created for the film; but it became an actual restaurant, the Tip Top Bistro, following the movie's success. Later, it became a coffee and Italian ice cream shop,and after that a fried chicken outlet. The Cherry Street Inn, the Queen Anne-Victorian bed & breakfast where Murray's character stayed, was a private home at the time of filming. Today, it is an actual bed & breakfast.

Since 1992, Woodstock has staged an annual Groundhog Day festival, featuring a dinner dance, free screenings of the movie, and a walking tour of the opera house, bowling alley, movie theatre, Moose Lodge (site of the dinner dance scene), piano teacher's house, Cherry Street Inn, and other locations from the film.

Groundhog Day
The Groundhog Day

Awards

BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay 1994

British Comedy Awards 1993 (Comedy Film)

Saturn Award for Best Actress (Film) (Andie MacDowell)

In June 2008, AFI revealed its "Ten Top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Groundhog Day was acknowledged as the eighth best film in the fantasy genre.

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs – #34

AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions – Nominated

AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) – Nominated
2008: AFI's 10 Top 10:



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