Groundhog Day Facts

Groundhog Day Facts
Groundhog Day is celebrated on February 2nd each year and according to folklore if it's cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring will come early. If it's sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter weather will persist for six more weeks. See the fact file below for more information on Groundhog Day.
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  • German tradition says that if the sun comes out on Candlemas, which is today’s Groundhog Day, the hedgehog will see its shadow and six more weeks of winter will follow. When German settlers came to Pennsylvania they continued this tradition, using groundhogs instead of hedgehogs to predict the weather.
  • The first official Groundhog Day was celebrated on February 2, 1886 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. A proclamation was made in the local newspaper, The Punxsutawney Spirit by the newspaper’s editor, Clymer Freas. Mr. Freas announced that “Today is groundhog day and up to the time of going to press the beast has not seen its shadow.“
  • The following year, Mr. Freas and number of other townspeople formed the “Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.”
  • This club proclaimed that “Phil” was the one and only official weather predicting groundhop and he lived at Gobbler’s Knob.’
  • Mr. Freas used his editorial powers with the newspaper to proclaim Phil’s fame and pretty soon newspapers from around the world were reporting on Phil’s predictions every February 2.
  • Many fans flock to Punxsutanwney, Pennsylvania every year to see for themselves the prediction this famous groundhog makes.
  • The groundhog’s full name is actually “Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather Prophet Extraordinary.” It was so proclaimed by the “Punxsutawney Groundhog Club” in 1887, the same year they declared Punxsutawney to be the weather capital of the world.
  • For most of the year, Phil lives in a special climate-controlled home at the Punxsutawney Library. He is taken to Gobbler’s Knob and placed in a heated burrow underneath a simulated tree stump on stage before being pulled out at 7:25 am on Groundhog Day, February 2, to make his prediction.
  • Phil is said to be more than 100 years old, surviving way beyond a ground hog’s normal life span.
  • In 1993, there was a movie made called Groundhog Day. It was about the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania and its famous groundhog. However, the movie was actually filmed in Woodstock, Illinois.