PA Dutch Traditions: Groundhog Day

An early spring or six more weeks of winter?

Groundhog Day is a Pennsylvania German custom originating from southeastern and central Pennsylvania. The holiday, traditionally celebrated on February 2nd, has become widely recognized since it was first adopted in the U.S. in 1887, especially after the widespread attention it got after the 1993 film Groundhog Day was released.


According to folklore, if the groundhog sees his shadow, he will retreat to hide in it’s burrow and there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If he does not see his shadow, there will be an early spring.


The Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle

Since 1887, Groundhog Day has been celebrated in Punxsutawney, PA and this year will be Punxsutawney Phil’s 131st prognostication. The official celebrations started when Clymer H. Freas, who was the editor of the local paper Punxsutawney Spirit, began promoting the town’s groundhog as the official “Groundhog Day meteorologist.” Since then celebrations in Punxsutawney have attracted crowds as large as 40,000 people at Gobbler’s Knob, the location of Phil’s burrow.

There are many legends surrounding the actual event and kept alive by the Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle (a group of dignitaries responsible for carrying on the tradition of Groundhog Day every year). The Inner Circle says that there has only been one Punxsutawney Phil and that he gets his longevity from drinking the “elixir of life” every summer which gives him seven more years of life.


Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day”

On Feb. 2nd, Phil will come out of his burrow and speaks to the Groundhog Club president in “Groundhogese” (a language only understood by the current president of the inner circle) and then his proclamation is then translated to the world. You can watch the festivities broadcast live starting at 6am EST HERE.

Whatever you may believe, Pennsylvania Dutch traditions are a huge part of our history at Paisley Dog Letterpress. Our unique Pennsylvania Dutch heritage was the inspiration for our letterpress coloring art print that features delicate and highly detailed illustrations that you can color in yourself! Original pen-and-ink illustrations were created by emerging artist Bonnie Watts, featuring Hex signs, a Distelfink, and Unicorn (to name a few). Shop our Etsy Store HERE.


Growing up in the heart of beautiful PA Dutch country we found the inspiration for our PA Heritage Collection. Check out more of our Pennsylvania Dutch- PA Heritage Collection (everything from cards to art prints to coasters) HERE.

PA Dutch Collection2

“This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather.” –Phil Connors (Bill Murray in ‘Groundhog Day’)

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