7 Fun Facts About Groundhog Day
As this historically cold winter rolls on, some people are wondering, “when will it end?” If legend is true, we’ll know the answer soon. Groundhog Day is an annual tradition in which a groundhog leaves its hole after hibernation. If the groundhog sees his shadow (due to sunny skies), it’s said to portend six more weeks of winter. If it’s cloudy, spring is believed to start early that year.
Tune in February 2 and watch from your manufactured home as we find out what’s in store for us the next couple months. But first, check out these 7 fun facts about Groundhog Day:
1) According to some historians, Groundhog Day dates back to 1841 in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, when a storekeeper named James Morris wrote about it in his diary. Others say the tradition started in Europe as “Candelmas Day,” and was brought to America by German immigrants in the 1700s.
2) The day has some meteorological relevance. In the northeast, winter surface high pressure often results in sunny skies and cold temperatures. This means if the groundhog sees the sun, winter is still going strong.
3) The same groundhog has apparently been participating in the event since 1886. His full name is “Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary.” However, he goes by the stage name Punxsutawney Phil. When it’s not Groundhog Day, he lives in a Pennsylvania library with his wife, Phyllis.
4) Since the year 2000, Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow 11 out of 14 times. One of the few times he did not see his shadow was last year.
5) In 2010, the National Climatic Data Center looked into Punxsutawney Phil’s prognostication skills and determined they were a little rough around the edges. In fact, his prediction has been correct just 39 percent of the time.
6) Since the move Groundhog Day was released in 1993, the annual event at Gobbler’s Knob, where the ceremony takes place, has grown in popularity. In fact, Groundhog Day crowds now pack as many as 30,000 people.
7) Punxsutawney Phil has met some pretty cool celebrities in his life. He appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show in 1996, and flew to Washington DC in 1986 to meet President Ronald Reagan. Not bad for a rodent!