There are many ancient tales and traditions regarding the passing of winter into spring. There is one belief that, when the Julian and Gregorian calendars collided in 1582, the date marking the beginning of spring shifted by some six weeks and the folklore was invented to cope with the resulting confusion. More directly, Groundhog Day can be traced to an old Scottish rhyme: "If Candlemas Day be bright and clear, they'll be two winters in the year." Both Scottish and German settlers in Pennsylvania reference Candlemas, which, in the Catholic church, is known as The Feast of The Presentation, marking the Biblical date when Joseph and Mary take Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to complete "the redemption of the firstborn" according to the laws of the Torah. Like so many religious celebrations, the date for Candlemas was superimposed over the pre-existing pagan ritual of Imbolc, marking winter's halfway point. Today, the tradition of using a groundhog to predict the weather is largely done for show and fun, although I'm sure there are still some pagans out there somewhere taking the whole thing quite seriously.
While I haven't made any point of collecting or identifying Groundhog Day music, a quick word search at Amazon turns up some 750 matches (though, granted, many of those are songs from the band The Groundhogs). So, just to start the enterprising few off on their own voyage of discovery, here are a few titles to investigate if you're interested.
If there's any such thing as an "essential" for Groundhog Day collectors, it would likely have to be Frankie Yancovic's "Pennsylvania Polka", for both its connection to the celebration in Punxsutawney and to the film "Groundhog Day". You can easily score that one through Amazon or most other digital retailers and, in hard copy, on Frankie's Greatest Hits CD.
And speaking of Blues, there's no shortage of songs called "Groundhog Blues". On the theme of sneaking wife poachers we mentioned earlier, Lil' Son Jackson promises that "I'm gonna cut his head about 4 ways" if he catches a "hog" sneaking around his back door. The more frequently covered "Ground Hog Blues", written by the original Sonny Boy Williamson, has the singer playing the part of the groundhog. "Now if I come out and see my shadow," he sings, "my woman don't love me and I believe I'll go back in." You'll find Sonny Boy's take on the Document collection "Sonny Boy Williamson, Volume 4 (1941-1945)". And there are plenty more variations on the theme from any number of Blues greats.
Since Groundhog Day is a celebration of folklore, Folk music is certainly rife with rodent tributes. One song, in particular, has made it's way through the generations in multiple incarnations. "Ground Hog" can be heard as a traditional rural Americana Folk song, performed by Pete Seeger or Mike Seeger, as a Bluegrass tune, as a comedic Country number from Homer & Jethro, and as a modern Indie Folk number like this take from Lisa Loeb & Elizabeth Mitchell from the album "Catch The Moon".
The Hip-Hop group Mayday has, not long ago, released the second version of their song "Groundhog Day" as part of the mixtape "The Lords Of The Fly". This one owes everything to the movie's deja vu all over again theme, but is noteworthy for two things--1) EXPLICIT LYRICS (parental advisory suggested) and 2) the presence of Cee Lo Green, who happens to be very hot these days. Also joining in on the fun is Mack Maine. "The Lords Of The Fly" is widely available for free download, but if you just want "Groundhog Day", you'll find it here.
Also picking up on the movie's "same day" theme is Pop-Punk band Money In The Banana Stand. Their "Groundhog Day" is free at Bandcamp.
For something completely different, Once In A Moon (Robert Wells) has written a nice original "Groundhog Day" round. That, too, is free at Bandcamp.
Last but not least, if you'd like an mp3 version of the video we posted earlier today, "Bing" by Skye, you can download it here. You know the video. This one. (Well, it is Groundhog Day after all).