The tradition of Groundhog Day dates to the 1800s when German immigrants in America continued their tradition of a weather-predicting hedgehog on Candlemas Day (February 2). Since there were no hedgehogs in North America, the similarly inclined burrowing groundhog (aka woodchuck) was drafted into service.
The reason for the tradition lies in the winter weather in northeastern U.S. Sunny skies in winter means cold temperatures. If the groundhog finds sunshine on February 2nd, it means winter is still in progress. However, if it’s cloudy, then moderate spring weather is already underway. Statistics show that Phil is right less than half the time. But it’s harmless fun in the dark, cold days of winter.
Who is Punxsutawney Phil?
Since 1886, Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania has promoted the celebration of Groundhog Day at Gobbler’s Knob, which is a couple of miles outside of town. The local groundhog, known as “Punxsutawney Phil,” has a lair in a little clearing at the top of a wooded hill. Other towns around the nation host Groundhog Day events with a local mammal celebrity. But PA Phil gets the most national press.
Other traditional fun far and near includes screening of the film “Groundhog Day” (1993, PG) with Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, and Chris Elliott. Bill Murray plays a satirical newsman who relives February 2 over and over again while in Punxsutawney, PA for the annual celebration. Check your local library for a copy. You can also rent it on Amazon Prime, Apple iTunes, and Vudu. Or see it locally on the big screen (check our calendar list below),
Realistically, the same prediction doesn’t work for the Pacific Northwest. Our weather patterns are entirely different. And further, there are no groundhogs west of the Rocky Mountains. So, we have to rely on another varmint, such as moles, mountain beavers, or gophers. Local traditions include Snohomish GroundFrog Day and Rufus the Discovery Park mountain beaver via Q13 Fox News.
So, what’s our prediction for this year? More winter or an early spring?
2023 Northwest Ground Hog Day predictions
On Groundhog Day, Seattle, WA | AccuWeather is expected to be cold with periods of rain mixed with snow. Further, the February 2023 Long Range Weather Forecast for Pacific Northwest | The Old Farmer’s Almanac states that Feb 1-2 will have “showers, turning colder”. Whatever happens, we can look forward to spring flowers, including daffodil parades, cherry blossom trees, and tulips.
2023 Groundhog Day events in the Puget Sound region
Saturday, January 28th, 10 am to 1 pm. 2023 Snohomish GroundFrog Day Celebration at Snohomish Aquatic Center. Free fun for the whole family. Free kids’ games and activities. Enter the Lazy River Frog Race ($5 entry fee-proceeds benefit the Swim-For-Life program). More info: Groundfrog Day — Snohomish Chamber of Commerce
Thursday, February 2, 2023. Groundhog Day Movie 30th Anniversary in local theaters.
- Groundhog Day 30th Anniversary at an AMC Theatre near you. (amctheatres.com)
- Groundhog Day 30th Anniversary Movie Tickets and Showtimes Near Me | Regal (regmovies.com)
- Groundhog Day 30th Anniversary Showtimes & Tickets Near You (cinemark.com)
Upcoming movie events on our calendar
Listed below are movie screenings, film festivals, and filmmaking events on our calendar.
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Thursday, March 30, 2023
Friday, March 31, 2023
Saturday, April 15, 2023
Saturday, April 22, 2023
Sunday, April 23, 2023
Monday, April 24, 2023
Tuesday, April 25, 2023
Wednesday, April 26, 2023
Thursday, April 27, 2023
Friday, April 28, 2023
Saturday, April 29, 2023
Sunday, April 30, 2023
Saturday, May 20, 2023
Snohomish Aquatic Center, 516 Maple Ave, Snohomish, WA 98290