Happy Groundhog Day! Fat, Furry Rodent Brings 6 More Weeks Of Winter!
Alright you fat, furry, little beast; stop giving us more winter. Seriously I've had enough Mr. Punxsutawney Phil, 6 more weeks of winter will simply not do.
Yes it's true my winter hating friends, 6 more weeks of winter according to a fairly small burrowing rodent. Every February 2nd, members of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club gather at Gobbler’s Knob, the official home of Punxsutawney Phil, just outside of the Pennsylvania town. They wear top hats and tuxedos and even read from a scroll of Phil's choosing as you can see above. This was the 137th Groundhog Day celebration in Punxsutawney. And for those of you that didn't know, here are some interesting facts to go along with the day.
1) Did you know that the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle says that they have been speaking to the same groundhog since 1887. By the way, most groundhogs only last about 3 years in the wild due to predators; where captive ones can survive up to 14 years. Sign me up for Mr. Phil's elixir of youth. He looks pretty good for 137 years old. His fur has barely even greyed.
2) Punxsutawney’s first Groundhog Day in Gobbler’s Knob dates back to 1887, when the town’s newspaper stated, “Today is groundhog day and up to the time of going to press the beast has not seen its shadow.” The tradition actually dates all the way back to Germany and a Christian religious holiday called "Candlemas Day." During this event Christians would take candles to the church to be blessed. It wasn’t until Candlemas Day came to Germany that an animal was brought into the lore, claiming that if a hedgehog saw his shadow on Candlemas Day there would be a “Second Winter” or six more weeks of bad weather.
In other circles, including the US, the heritage can also be found in the form of a Scottish poem:
The cold grows stronger
If Candlemas be fair and bright
Winter will have another flight
If Candlemas be cloud and snow
Winter will be gone and not come again.
A farmer should on Candlemas day
Have half his corn and half his hay
On Candlemas day if thorns hang a drop
You can be sure of a good pea crop
3) Punxsutawney Phil usually sees his shadow. In fact, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National weather Service have found that the groundhog’s forecasts have been about 40 per cent correct within the last 10 years.
4) Groundhogs are also known as "woodchucks" and if we still can't find out how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Why would we trust him with our weather forecast. Deep thoughts friends.
5) There are "other" groundhogs doing the same thing as Phil. Yes, loads of other areas celebrate Groundhogs Day and even have their own "Phil's" to forecast extended winters. Some places even use other animals, like Nashville where it's actually Opossum Day. Don't believe, check this guy out! By the way possums are super helpful and eat ticks so please let them be. Did you know? They are America's only marsupial.
So there you have it, traditions are fun. Some are based on old wives tales. Some even have hints of legitimate science tied to them. Whatever the case, hopefully six more weeks of winter won't make you pull a "Bill Murray" in Groundhog Day.