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Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day is celebrated on February 2 in the United States, Canada and certain European countries. Many myths and folklore has grown around the idea that when a groundhog emerges from his burrow on February 2 and does not see it's shadow, cold winter weather will not remain long. But if it does see it's shadow, the groundhog will return to it's burrow and harsh winter conditions will continue for at least six to eight weeks or more.

Groundhog Day was introduced into America culture by German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania during the 1800's. In Germany and other European countries, other animals such as hedgehogs, bears, and badgers are used to predict how long winter will last.

In recent years, Groundhogs day has gained popularity due to the highly successful movie, Groundhogs Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. With all the pomp and circumstance of a major event, Groundhog Day has become a popular tradition in the United States. Customs include early morning festivities in which spectators can watch as the groundhog emerges from his borrow, speeches, food and drink, plays, singing and dancing, and other forms of entertainment.

It some areas, especially in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, it takes on a carnival like atmosphere with celebrations and the introduction of Punxsutawney Phil, a groundhog used each year for the event. His predictions are shown worldwide on television.

Punxsutawney Phil has become so well known and popular that he has become a fixture on television and national news casts. He has traveled to the White House, the Pennsylvania Governor's Mansion, and was a guest on the Oprah Winfrey show.

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