When does the groundhog come out? What to know about Groundhog Day 2024.

You may know Groundhog Day from the 1993 film in which a TV weatherman finds himself reliving the same day over and over again. In this classic, Bill Murray’s character reports on the annual celebration over and over. It also put Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, on the map.

According to Variety, the town of Punxsutawney typically saw about 15,000-30,000 tourists for the holiday, but that number rose to 35,000 the year after “Groundhog Day” was released. Since then, Punxsutawney and Woodstock, the nearby town where the movie was filmed, host Groundhog Day events for tourists.

Punxsutawney Phil, the weather-prognosticating groundhog, predicted a long winter once again in the 2023 Groundhog Day celebration.
Punxsutawney Phil, the weather-prognosticating groundhog, predicted a long winter once again in the 2023 Groundhog Day celebration.

When is Groundhog Day 2024?

Groundhog Day is on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. Though not a federal holiday, Americans tune in to see if the famed groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, sees his shadow every year on the same day, Feb. 2.

The festivities take place at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The celebration is free to attend and spectators can enter the grounds starting at 3 a.m. The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club celebrates with talent shows, banquets and performances leading up to, and after, the prediction.

Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow Friday morning, predicting an early spring in 2024.

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What is Groundhog Day?

In the American tradition of Groundhog Day, the nation’s most well-known groundhog takes a stance on the season ahead. If he sees his shadow, he predicts six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, it’s a forecast of an early spring.

Groundhog Day’s roots are in the Christian holiday Candlemas, the midway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox. During Candlemas, Christians honored the changing of the seasons and lit candles to predict how long winter would last.

The first official Groundhog Day happened on February 2, 1887, in the very town it is celebrated in today. The holiday made a permanent home at Gobbler’s Knob the following year. According to History.com, it was a newspaper editor and groundhog hunter who declared Phil, a groundhog from Punxsutawney, the true predictor.

Today, the “Inner Circle” of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club oversees the ceremony. The Inner Circle also cares for and feeds the groundhog carrying out the responsibilities of Punxsutawney Phil.

What happens if the groundhog sees its shadow?

As the legend goes, if Phil sees his shadow we can expect six more weeks of cold. Last year the groundhog predicted a longer winter.

Unfortunately for Phil fanatics, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the groundhog has “no predictive skill.” He's only gotten it right about 40% of the time.

You’d have more luck monitoring NOAA's seasonal temperature outlook, which predicts the northernmost states will see above-normal temperatures in February, March and April in 2024, especially in New England and the Pacific Northwest. Most of Texas will see below-average temperatures. Warm-weather predictions are partially due to El Niño, a natural climate pattern that can send temperatures soaring.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Did the groundhog come out yet? What to know about Groundhog Day 2024.