The next six weeks of weather all rely on the shoulders of one groundhog — Punxsutawney Phil! Feb. 2 is Groundhog Day, and we could have six more weeks of winter, or an early spring! Although we all wait for Phil to see his shadow every year, how did this whole tradition even start? Here’s everything you need to know!
Every year on Feb. 2 we patiently wait to see if Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow. And, tomorrow, on Groundhog Day, we will be on pins and needles to see if we have six more weeks of winter or an early spring. If he sees his shadow and returns to his hole, that means the winter weather will continue; If he doesn’t see his shadow, everyone will rejoice for the arrival of an early spring! BUT, who even is Punxsutawney Phil? How did this tradition even start? Do you guys wait around every year for the Groundhog results, but don’t even know why you’re doing it? Well, we’ve got you covered!
Who is Punxsutawney Phil? — He’s a groundhog that’s lives in Punxsutawney, PA. Every year on Feb. 2, he comes out of his hole after a winter sleep to look for his shadow. And, on Feb. 2, 2017, he will forecast the weather for his 131st time! Punxsutawney Phil is the only accurate weather forecasting groundhog, according to the official Groundhog website, and “the others are just impostors.” The famous animal was named after King Phillip, and prior to being called Phil, he was referred to as Br’er Groundhog.
You may be wondering how Phil gets his longevity, or how many “Phils” there have been over the years. “There has only been one Punxsutawney Phil,” the site claims, and he’s lived so long because he drinks a “groundhog punch,” called “elixir of life,” which is a secret recipe. Phil apparently takes “one sip of the drink every summer at the Groundhog Picnic [in Punxsutawney] and it magically gives him seven more years of life.” Phil is taken care of by a group called, the Inner Circle, which is the Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle. They are a group of men in top hats and tuxedos who are responsible for carrying on the tradition of Groundhog Day.
The whole groundhog shadow tradition started way back in the 1800s. Groundhog day was influenced by the European holiday, Candlemas Day, according to Phil’s handler, Ron Ploucha. In Europe, there was a saying that if the sun appeared on Candlemas Day, then there would be two more winters. They used a hedgehog in Europe, Phil’s other handler, John Griffiths said. However, they don’t have hedgehogs in Punxsutawney, so a Groundhog was the “closest thing” to it.
The Groundhog tradition in the U.S., and in Punxsutawney, PA started in 1886 by an editor at The Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper, according to Destiny Pifer, a current reporter for the paper. The “editor” was apparently a groundhog hunter with other people, and they dubbed themselves the Groundhog Club. Every year the club would document their hunt, and that’s when the town got in on it, and the rest was history since then!
HollywoodLifers, do you think the Groundhog will see his shadow? Tell us below!