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7 Essential Reads About Groundhog Day

Everything you ever wanted to know about one of North America’s weirdest traditions (and also the Bill Murray classic).

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Read when you’ve got time to spare.

On February 2nd, winter-weary citizens in the United States and Canada turn toward an unlikely prophet for succor: Marmota monax, commonly known as the woodchuck or groundhog. Tradition holds that if the groundhog emerges from its den and sees its own shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. No shadow means an early spring.

Why exactly is there a holiday centered around the prognosticating powers of an oversized ground squirrel? Read on to explore the origins and history of Groundhog Day, including how it relates to actual groundhog biology. But if you’re more interested in the classic 1993 Bill Murray film Groundhog Day, well, we’ve got you covered there, too.

Image by Jeff Swensen/Stringer