Most parents know that Groundhog Day is the second of February, when the groundhog—most commonly Punxsutawney Phil—pokes his head up out of his hole. If it’s cloudy and overcast, that means spring is on the way—but if Phil sees his shadow, that means six more weeks of winter!
Statistically speaking, Phil is no more accurate than most other blind guesses. There, is, of course, a great deal of mythology surrounding the incredible weather-predicting groundhog. It has been suggested that there has only been one Phil for as long as he has been predicting the arrival of spring. His longevity is attributed to “Groundhog Punch.” One sip of this magical substance, and Phil will live for seven more years! Others insist that Phil speaks his prediction to the onlookers in “Groundhogese.”
All of this, of course, is the stuff of myth and legend. It originates from the legend of Candlemas Day, which states that if February 2 (Candlemas, or the day when all of the candles that would be used in the coming year were brought into the church to be blessed) is bright and clear, winter will come again—or, equally commonly, that there will be snow in May as a result.
Most older kids will recognize immediately that Groundhog Day isn’t a “real” holiday, and if you’re more realistic by nature, you might want to assure them that whether or not Phil sees his shadow has nothing to do with what the weather is going to do in the coming weeks. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a bit of fun with the holiday!
Make your own Groundhog Punch. This can be made any way you like—including with all fruit juice ingredients. Let your kids drink it to help “stave off winter” (or, if they prefer, to bring on the snow)!
Go outside and pretend to be groundhogs. Can you see your shadow? Or is the day grey and overcast? Does it change throughout the day? Let your kids pop out of whatever “holes” they can find: the garage, the inside of the car, maybe even out of a playhouse or tunnel.
Write letters to Phil. Are your kids desperate for spring? Hoping for a little bit more winter so that they can play in the snow? Have them write letters to Phil indicating this desire. They can practice their persuasive writing and letter writing skills all in one!