Every day, on February 2, the eyes of the world fall upon Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, waiting to see if there will be six more weeks of winter, or if we will be gifted with an early spring. The oracle of this seasonal change? The humble groundhog. It’s Groundhog Day in America.
A Brief History of Groundhog Day
Known in the French as Jour de la Marmotte and in German as Grundsaudaag, Groundhog Day is a day when, according to folklore, Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his burrow. Supposedly, if it is sufficiently sunny, Phil will see his shadow and go back into his den, heralding six more weeks of winter. If he remains outside, then spring will come early!
Groundhog Day is cause for celebration in southeastern Pennsylvania, where residents celebrate fersommlinge, a social event with food and speeches and a watchful eye kept out for any emergent groundhogs. During these events, the only language spoken is Pennsylvania German, and those who speak English must put spare change in a bowl as penalty.
Groundhog Day first emerged as a holiday in the United States around 1887, mostly due to the efforts of Clymer H. Freas, an editor at the Punxsutawney Spirit, the local paper. Freas promoted the town groundhog as a “Groundhog Day meteorologist.”
However, the tradition goes back even further, to ancient European weather lore in which sacred bears or badgers act as heralds of the weather. The holiday enjoyed more widespread popularity as a result of the 1993 film Groundhog Day, in which Bill Murray’s character relives the same day over and over.
Traveling for Groundhog Day (and Beyond)
So what happens if Punxsutawney Phil (or Balzac Billy, or Holtsville Hal, or Malverne Mel, or General Beauregarde Lee, or Hutty the Hog, or Fred la Marmotte… yes, these are all real names of groundhogs being watched across the world for their weather-predicting ways) divine six more weeks of winter?
If you happen to be near Punxsutawney Phil’s home, you can charter a bus from Metropolitan Shuttle in Philadelphia and hit one of the many ski resorts nearby, like Spring Mountain, Fall Line Ski Club, or Bear Creek Mountain Resort.
If the humble groundhog predicts more spring-like weather, it might be a great time to charter a bus and visit the Jurassic World Exhibition or the Robot Revolution at the Franklin Institute. Or you could find a hiking, biking, or nature trail to take advantage of the spring weather.
In fact, no matter where you are, no matter where you want to go, and no matter the weather, Metropolitan Shuttle has the perfect party bus, shuttle van, or charter bus for you. Have questions? Call us at 1-866-556-3545 or contact us today for a free quote, and let’s get started.