Groundhog Day is almost here! Every February 2nd, Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his burrow to look for his shadow. The first trek to Gobbler’s Knob for Groundhog Day happened in 1887, and tens of thousands of people attend every year to listen to Phil’s prediction. If he doesn’t see his shadow, spring is right around the corner, but if Phil does see his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter.
Groundhog Day has roots in Europe and the holiday of Candlemas Day, a day on which candles are blessed and distributed for the rest of winter. Germans relied on animals like European hedgehogs and badgers to predict the weather and to estimate how many candles would be needed. German immigrants to Pennsylvania brought the tradition with them with one difference: they used groundhogs.
Can’t make it to Punxsutawney to celebrate this year? Here are a few pieces of Groundhog Day trivia that will make you feel like a local.
- Phil’s full name is “Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary.”
- Punxsutawney Phil lives in the Groundhog Zoo at Punxsutawney Memorial Library with his wife, Phyllis.
- Phil is attended to by the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club Inner Circle; the President of the Inner Circle communicates with him in “Groundhogese.”
- His weather predicting accuracy is about 39%.
- Punxsutawney Phil has plenty of competition in the field of weather-forecasting animals. Staten Island Chuck, General Beauregard Lee of Georgia, Sir Walter Wally of North Carolina, Buckeye Chuck of Ohio, just to name a few, make their own prediction every February 2nd..
- The movie Groundhog Day was actually filmed in Woodstock, Illinois.
- Punxsutawney Phil occasionally makes political statements: during Prohibition, Phil proclaimed that there would be 60 more weeks of winter if he wasn’t allowed to drink and in 1958, he announced that the first man-made satellite to orbit the Earth was really the “United States Chucknik.”
Come celebrate Groundhog Day with us at the library! On February 2nd, we’ll be showing Groundhog Day, a film about a weather man doomed to relive the same day over and over again. In the spirit of the film’s theme of repetition, we’ll be looping the movie all day long and serving snacks too! Come in for the 11 a.m., 1 p.m. or 3 p.m. screening and enjoy this cult classic on our projection screen with surround sound.