The Science (and the Pseudo-Science) Behind Groundhog DayPosted: February 1, 2012
U.S. and Canadian Groundhog Day comes every year on February 2. It has its roots in astronomy, and it’s a great excuse for outdoor winter revelry. Via Earthsky.org:
Since 1887, members of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club have held public celebrations of Groundhog Day. Punxsutawney is where Bill Murray was in the movie Groundhog Day. From the looks of things … a good time is had by all.
What you might not know is that Groundhog Day is really an astronomical holiday. It’s an event that takes place in Earth’s orbit around the sun, as we move between the solstices and equinoxes. In other words, Groundhog Day falls more or less midway between the December solstice and the March equinox. Each cross-quarter day is actually a collection of dates, and various traditions celebrate various holidays at this time. February 2 is the year’s first cross-quarter day.