Fun Facts About Groundhog Day

January 24, 2018
Each year on February 2nd, we look forward to a furry little critter's prediction of the year to come. Will winter be here longer than we'd like? Will spring arrive early? It all depends on whether or not a groundhog sees his shadow. Well... sort of. It's folklore but some people are firm believers in this theory. If February 2nd is a day filled with clouds and there is no shadow to be seen, spring will come early. If the sun is shining, ironically enough, this means that winter will continue for another six weeks. Here are some other fun facts you can share with friends about Groundhog Day celebrations:
  • The tradition of Groundhog Day began over 130 years ago in a small German community in Pennsylvania
  • According to The Sun, a man named Clymer H. Freas, who was the editor of the town's local paper, promoted Punxsutawney's friendly groundhog as the official "Groundhog Day Meteorologist."
  • The holiday stems from its roots in an ancient tradition of Candlemas Day, when clergy would bless candles for winter, representing how long the season would be
  • Punxsutawney Phil is the famous groundhog representative and he looks for his shadow on a hill called the Gobbler's Knob
  • They call him "Punxsy" for short
  • He even appeared on Oprah in 1995
  • In 2001, his prediction was shown live in Times Square
  • Phil is a huge supporter of charitable causes; he even wore a yellow ribbon in 1981 to honor the American hostages in Iran
  • He's traveled to large events including the Annual Puppy Bowl and March Madness college basketball championships
  • As of 2017, Punxsutawney Phil has made 130 predictions
  • However his predictions aren't always the greatest; a record of his findings shows that his shadow-based predictions have only been right about 21% of the time
  • You can see all of his predictions here
  • Unfortunately groundhogs only live 6-8 years, meaning there has been at least 20 different Punxsutawney Phils
  • To keep him safe, he resides in a special enclosure at the town library along with his wife, Phyllis
  • In addition, many other cities throughout the world have adopted Groundhog Day and have even named their very own meteorologists
  • Those include Birmingham Bill, Staten Island Chuck, Shubenacadie Sam, General Beauregard Lee, Wiarton Willie (he's albino!) and Ohio's own Buckeye Chuck
  • Since the Groundhog Day movie came out in 1993, crowds of +30K have showed up to Gobbler's Knob to celebrate the holiday
  • Today, more than 5,000 people still show up and bring in some serious bank for the local economy -- even more if the date falls on a weekend