10 Ways to Celebrate Groundhog Day With Activities, Movies and Food
Groundhog Day Is February 2nd
The winter blahs might get to you in January, but there’s something to look forward to in February besides the Super Bowl—Groundhog Day is February 2nd. If you’ve never celebrated this holiday, then this is the year to start. In the middle of winter, with spring somewhere over the horizon, what better excuse do you need to have a celebration?
Groundhog Day Traditions Evolved From Candlemas
The traditions of Groundhog Day have roots in an early Christian holiday, Candlemas, which was observed on February 2nd. On this day, candles were blessed and distributed. It was believed that clear skies on Candlemas meant a long winter. When the tradition of Candlemas came to Germany, the story was enhanced. They predicted that if a hedgehog came out on Candlemas Day and saw his shadow, it would mean a long winter. When Germans settled in this country, they brought the tradition with them, and the weather prediction ability was bestowed upon the groundhog.
10 Ways to Celebrate Groundhog Day
Whether you are in for six more weeks of winter or an early spring, Groundhog Day is a great excuse to have a celebration. Here are ten ways to celebrate that are sure to brighten your winter day.
1. Visit Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania
Visit Punxsutawney for the annual Groundhog Day Celebration. People gather upon Gobbler's Knob at the crack of dawn to watch for Punxsutawney Phil to come out of his burrow. If Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If not, spring is on the way! If you can't travel to Punxsutawney, then tune in to the live stream on February 2nd to watch the great event yourself.
Visit Punxsutawney, PA on February 2nd for a personal look at Punxsutawney Phil.
2. Watch Bill Murray's 1993 Movie, Groundhog Day
One of the all-time funny movies, brighten up your holiday celebration by renting or purchasing the video of Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray.
3. Sing Along With the Groundhog Day Song
I'll bet you didn't know there was a Groundhog Day song. Be sure to watch the video of this song written by Helen Slayton Hughes. Maybe you can learn it and have a Groundhog Day sing-along!
“We’ll light the big green candle, and eat some rhubarb pie,
Gimme a kiss, it’s Groundhog Day and groundhogs do not lie…
4. Have a Groundhog Day Look-Alike Party
Invite all your friends to come to your house dressed as groundhogs. Give prizes for the ones who look most like a real groundhog. Be creative and serve some really great food: Groundhog Stew for starters, and Dirt Pie for dessert! See the recipes below.
5. Make Groundhog Stew
Let's face it, carnivores, there are a lot of these plump critters out there eating up gardens and crops all summer long. Why not have a nice groundhog stew simmering on the back of the stove to celebrate the day?
First of all, you'll need to send your hunter out to get one of those critters. If he’s lucky enough to bag one, be sure to tell him to skin it and gut it before bringing it in for you to cook. Here’s what to do:
Easy Groundhog Stew
- Cut groundhog into large pieces, put them in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
- Discard the water, refill the pan, and bring to a boil again. Simmer for about an hour and a half.
- Fish out that woodchuck (keep the liquid) and remove the meat from the bones. Cut meat into bite-sized pieces and return them to the pot.
- Add potatoes and carrots, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil.
- You can add dumpling batter to the pot, cover tightly, and cook for 10–12 more minutes for a heartier meal. Yum!
6. Serve Some Dirt Pie
Kids will love some Dirt Pie to celebrate Groundhog Day. Serve this cute pudding-based recipe with little groundhogs glued to popsicle sticks popping out of the individual cups. I found this idea on Thrilled by the Thought.
Recipe for Dirt Pie
- 1 large package Oreo cookies
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup softened butter
- 1 (8 oz.) pkg. softened cream cheese
- 2 packages of instant vanilla pudding
- 3 1/2 cups milk
- 12 oz. container Cool Whip
- Crush Oreo cookies in food processor or with a rolling pin until cookies are fine crumbs and set aside.
- Mix butter, cream cheese and sugar together until smooth.
- Mix pudding with the milk, then blend in the Cool Whip.
- Combine pudding and cream cheese mixture together until lumps are smooth.
Dirt Pie can be served in a rectangular 9" X 13" pan or in individual clear cups. Layer the cookie mixture and pudding mixture, leaving enough cookie mixture for the top.
7. Learn Some Groundhog Trivia
- All groundhogs have 22 teeth.
- They whistle when alarmed or when they are courting.
- They are vegetarian; they eat greens, fruits and vegetables.
- The average groundhog weighs 12 to15 pounds, but Punxsutawney Phil weighs 20 pounds.
- They hibernate, and each one has his own burrow.
- Their burrows have two doorways.
- They can swim and climb trees.
- They can run up to 9 miles an hour.
- A baby groundhog is called a kit or a cub.
- Their average life span is 6 to 8 years.
- They can lose half their body weight during hibernation.
- They don't taste like chicken.
8. Read a Groundhog Day Book to Your Kids
There's a whole selection of cute books for kids based on Groundhog Day stories. Why not check them out?
- Gretchen Groundhog, It’s Your Day
- Gregory’s Shadow
- Punxsutawney Phyllis
- It’s Groundhog Day
- Substitute Groundhog
- Geoffrey Groundhog
- Punsxsutawney Phil and His Weather Wisdom
9. Get Up At Dawn and Go Watch a Groundhog Hole
You can start your own tradition by getting up at dawn and keeping an eye on your nearest groundhog hole. Who knows, you may discover Cleveland Chloe or Okachobee Otis and be famous next year on February 2nd as people flock to see your discovery!
10. Have Some Birthday Cake
In honor of famous people born on Febuary 2nd, have a piece of birthday cake! Some famous people born on this dayare:
- Ayn Rand
- James Joyce
- Christie Brinkley
- Farrah Fawcett
- Tom Smothers
- Graham Nash
- And, most importantly, Jeffrey Henkel
That's right! February 2nd is special in our house because it's the birthday of a very special person, my son, Jeff Henkel. You can believe that he has heard a few jokes about having a birthday on Groundhog Day. Well, at least we didn't name him Chuck. So join us in celebrating this day with a piece of birthday cake in Jeff's honor!
What will you do on Groundhog Day?
Have a Happy Groundhog Day!
So there you have it—10 awesome ways to celebrate Groundhog Day. There's something for everyone, from the movie buff to the naturalist, so take your pick, and do have a happy Groundhog Day celebration!
© 2012 Stephanie Henkel