What is Groundhog Day? (w/ English Audio)

What is Groundhog Day? In today’s post, I will explain this North American tradition, give you some history and tell you about a movie (that I love!) named for this special day. Plus learn the English expression “Same old, same old.” There is an audio track too at the end of this post so you can practice English listening.

Groundhog Day

What is Groundhog Day?

Groundhog Day is celebrated on February 2. (In North America)

According to ancient stories, if it is cloudy when the groundhog comes out of his underground home on this day, then spring will come early; if it is sunny, the groundhog will see his shadow and go back into his home, and the winter weather will continue for six more weeks.

Text in the blue box is included in the audio in the bottom of the post.

How did Groundhog Day start?

It seems that Groundhog Day was started by German communities in Pennsylvania. From Wikipedia:

“The earliest mention of Groundhog Day is an entry on February 2, 1840, in the diary of James L. Morris of Morgantown, in Pennsylvania Dutch Country…”

Wikipedia Groundhog Day

According to the same Wikipedia article a Groundhog Day celebration held in a Pennsylvania town called Punxsutawney (PUNKS-AH-TAW-NEE)

Groundhog Day Groundhog

Popular culture

Groundhog Day is also a popular movie from 1993 starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. I love this movie! I have seen it many times.

The story is about a news weatherman (Bill Murray) who keeps living the same day (Feb. 2nd) over and over again. He is in a small town in Pennsylvania doing a story about one of America’s oldest Groundhog Day festival. The town in the movie is the same town mentioned above, Punxsutawney. The story idea is interesting and the movie is very funny.

I recently wrote a blog post about learning English from TV shows. I have included a clip from this movie with an expression. The clip is from the Internet Movie Database.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107048/videoplayer/vi1319829785

same old, same old

​(informal) used to say that a situation has not changed at all

‘How’s it going?’ ‘Oh, same old, same old.’

From Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries 

At the end of the clip, Bill Murray uses this idiom. He is answering Andie MacDowell’s question about his day.

A: “What did you do today?” 
B: “Oh, same old, same old.”

This is like saying “My day was normal. I did my usual things.”

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Audio text

Groundhog Day is celebrated on February 2.
According to ancient stories, if it is cloudy when the groundhog comes out of his underground home on this day, then spring will come early; if it is sunny, the groundhog will see his shadow and go back into his home, and the winter weather will continue for six more weeks.

Are there any winter traditions or ancient stories about the weather where you’re from? Many cultures have traditions at springtime; spring is a happy time of year after a cold and gray winter. 

Practice talking about the traditions where you live in English. What is the story? Who is in the story? When does the story happen? How do you celebrate? Talking about your own culture in English is a great way to practice and make friends!

Vocabulary from the audio – Definitions from https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/

ancient [adjective] very old; having existed for a very long time

shadow [noun] the dark shape that somebody/something’s form makes on a surface, for example on the ground, when they are between the light and the surface

tradition [noun] a belief, custom or way of doing something that has existed for a long time among a particular group of people; a set of these beliefs or customs

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