When is Groundhog Day 2024? What to know about the decades-old winter prediction tradition
As the mid-point of winter comes, one tradition captures the attention of millions of Americans every year.
It’s watching to see the answer to the age-old question, “Will Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow, or won’t he? Will we have six more weeks of winter, or won’t we?”
Put on the map by the 1993 Bill Murray film where a TV weatherman finds him reliving the same day over and over again, forced to report on the annual celebration time and again, Groundhog Day takes place in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania every year at Gobblers Knob.
When is Groundhog Day 2024?
Groundhog Day will take place Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. Thousands will show up in person, with the grounds to Gobblers Knob opening at 3 a.m., and millions will tune in to see if Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow on Feb. 2 each year.
What is Groundhog Day?
Groundhog Day is a tradition that has taken place annually in the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania since Feb. 2, 1987.
The “Inner Circle” of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club plans the ceremony and events each year, as well as cares for and feeds Punxsutawney Phil.
What happens if the groundhog sees his shadow?
If Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, he predicts six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, he predicts an early spring.
But, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Phil has only gotten it right about 40% of the time in the last 10 years.
In Phil’s defense, the NOAA said predicting the arrival of spring for the entire United States is difficult indeed.
Why does PETA want Punxsutawney Phil sent to a sanctuary?
In a letter sent in January to Tom Dunkel, the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s president, PETA expressed concerns that the groundhog is being cruelly exploited for publicity.
If the Inner Circle agreed to send the animal to a sanctuary, PETA offered to send the organization “a giant coin” that “could easily replace him as the Pennsylvania town’s gimmick to draw in tourists.”
“He is not a meteorologist and deserves better than to be exploited every year for tourism money,” PETA said in a statement.
It’s not the first year PETA has made requests for Phil to be freed — in years past offering to send a human volunteer to live in his enclosure and make the annual winter predicition, or replace the groundhog with a persimmon tree and an animatronic groundhog.