Welcome to Groundhog Day, a holiday where the same thing happens over and over

Raymond Chen

Today is Groundhog Day, a holiday celebrated in the northeastern United States, the day when, according to tradition, the groundhog emerges from hibernation. If it sees its shadow, then the frightened groundhog returns to its burrow, and cold winter weather will continue for six more weeks. It has never been more than a minor holiday, good for an amusing story on the evening news, but not much else.

I recall listening to a BBC World Service news report on the radio. They were reporting on a speech or press conference given by somebody or other, and the speaker commented on how any progress made during the day seemed wiped out by the start of the next day. “It felt like Groundhog Day.” The speaker was not referring to the holiday but rather the 1993 movie with the same name.

Since the holiday Groundhog Day is not well-known outside the United States, the BBC announcer attempted to explain for the station’s international audience, but ended up confusing the holiday and the movie: “Groundhog Day is an American holiday in which the same thing happens over and over again.”


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