Happy Groundhog Day! Punxsutawney Phil, everyone’s favorite, furry “meteorologist” emerged and saw his shadow which according to tradition means we will have another six weeks of winter. While I like to take my climate information from a small, magical mammal, “scientists” pin the end of the season of winter in the Northern Hemisphere this year on March 19th…. So the groundhog wasn’t wrong. Yeah, science!
Um, is he radioactive or something? Is that how he predicts the weather?
Although you probably don’t need to be a weather predicting groundhog to look outside and see the total crap show that is the 2015 winter blizzard, especially if you live in places like Chicago that are getting hammered with 19 inches.
While traditionally Groundhog Day is not a day that most of us get off from work or school, lots of schools and businesses were closed on Monday because of the weather. So this is a good time to stay home and barbeque; just hopefully not groundhogs.
To celebrate six more weeks of winter here are 10 Groundhog Day facts!
1. The Largest Groundhog Day Celebration Is In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania Where 40K People Have Gathered To See “Punxsutawney Phil”
They began celebrating Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney in 1886.
2. Staten Island Chuck Predicted An Early Spring This Year
There are dozens of Groundhog Day celebrations around the country and sometimes rival groundhogs like New York’s “Staten Island Chuck” don’t always predict the same outcome.
3. On Groundhog Day 2014, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio Accidently Dropped “Staten Island Chuck,” Some Say Leading To The Animal’s Death Weeks Later
Some accused the zoo who owned the groundhog of covering up the mayoral “groundhogicide” in fear of getting less funding from the city if the mayor was embarrassed by the incident.
4. Groundhog Day May Have Originated As Part Of Candlemas Day
The groundhog weather predictions may have been a German tradition begun on Candlemas Day where: “the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate.”
5. Originally A Badger Or Bear Was Used Instead Of A Groundhog
The Pennsylvania German custom started in the 18th and 19th centuries using a badger or a bear instead of a groundhog. I can’t imagine why they went with a groundhog instead of a bear.
6. Groundhogs Have Been Found To Be Accurate 37 Percent Of The Time In Predicting Winter Weather Patterns
Punxsutawney Phil himself is accurate 39 percent of the time, yet still wonders who paid for a study on the weather predicting accuracy of rodents.
7. Groundhog Day Is Not Just A Classic Film Starring Bill Murray: It Is Also A Song By The Band Primus
“Groundhog Day” is a thumpin’ track off their 1990 album Frizzle Fry and is sung from the perspective of the groundhog.
8. The First American Reference To Groundhog Day Is From February 4th, 1841 In The Diary Of Morgantown, Pennsylvania Storekeeper James Morris
9. Groundhog Day May Have Been Created To Settle Two Separate Traditions
In some western cultures the change of seasons is marked when the daylight hours first start to get longer. Other cultures marked the changing of the winter season when there are more daylight hours than night. Thus they passed around the old peace pipe and decided that a groundhog would end the dispute.
10 In Southeastern Pennsylvania, “Groundhog Lodges” Are Held With Festive Food, Speeches And Groundhog Related Entertainment, However Participants Are Only Allowed To Speak The Pennsylvania German Dialect