Pennsylvanian settlers cheer on a groundhog in Sesame Seasons


A frustrated groundhog in Neat Stuff.

Groundhog Day TM112

"A Tail of Two Piggies"

Groundhog Day is a holiday which occurs on February 2, based on the concept that if a groundhog emerges without seeing his shadow on that day, it predicts an early spring. If the rodent sees his shadow and retreats into the hole, winter will last another six weeks.

The concept, and idea of a groundhog as a weather forecaster, comes from German settlers in Pennsylvania (in either the 18th or 19th centuries). Thus, in Pennsylvania, many Groundhog Day celebrations are essentially cultural festivals embracing German heritage, language, and food. Across the United States of America, however, the day is primarily seen as a moment of anticipation while awaiting the groundhog's result (a task now largely delegated to Punxsutawney Phil, also of Pennsylvania).


  • In a LaChoy commercial spot titled "Six-Minute Sunday Supper" from 1965,[1] Mert explains that he eats LaChoy on Groundhog Day (as well as Guy Fawkes' Day and Bastille Day). The LaChoy Dragon chastises him for not eating it often enough.
  • In the 1981 book Sesame Seasons, the story "Ernie and Bert on Groundhog Day" presents a simplified version of the holiday's origin, as Ernie eagerly waits to see if the groundhog will emerge. Bert is skeptical but gradually becomes equally excited. Also included are the nature story "Groundhog House" (explaining the animal's habitat, while the groundhog is depicted hiding from a fox) and a "Make a Shadow Picture" activity.
  • The holiday is explained in the 1988 video, Neat Stuff To Know & To Do. A groundhog pops from his burrow and is met with reporters asking if winter will continue. The groundhog goes on about how silly the holiday is, noting the results all depend on whether or not the sun is shining. He does notice some snow on the way, then goes back into his home.


  1. Falk, Karen. Imagination Illustrated, Chronicle Books. 2012. p. 38.
  2. Wilson & Ditch: Digging America - Podcasts
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