The Legend of the Groundhog
Do you know how Groundhog Day came to be? The tradition began in Germany where a
hedgehog was used to predict an early spring or foretell of six more weeks of winter. It was
believed that if the hedgehog came out of its burrow and saw its shadow there would be six
more weeks of winter. If it did not see its shadow, it was believed there would be an early
spring. When German immigrants came to America they continued the tradition of
predicting weather. However, they used a groundhog instead of a hedgehog.
The most famous groundhog is Punxsutawney Phil. Punxatawney is a town in
Pennsylvania where the very first Groundhog Day celebration happened on February 2,
1886. People in Punxsutawney say that Phil is more than 100 years old! Unfortunately,
this is impossible as most groundhog’s have a life span of fourteen years. Most days Phil
lives in a temperature-controlled habitat in the Punxsutawney library with his wife Phyllis.
You may be wondering if Phil’s predictions are correct. I am sorry to tell you that he is
correct less than half the time.
Can You Answer the COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:
1. On what date does Groundhog Day happen every year?
2. What animal is used to predict an early spring or six more weeks of winter?
3. In what country did the tradition of Groundhog Day begin?
4. Where does Phil live most of the year?
5. What is Phil’s wife’s name?
6. How old is Phil said to be?