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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Groundhog Day

February 2, 2017

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Groundhog Day

Read the top 5 facts that you should know about Groundhog Day!

Groundhog Day Comes From a German Holiday

Actually, the German immigrants brought the tradition of using animals to predict weather to the United States, Pennsylvania. Back in the Middle Ages, they have relied on bears and badgers, but once they moved to the United States in 18th and 19th centuries, they have started paying attention to groundhogs because they were native inhabitants of Pennsylvania. The tradition originates from a Christian holiday called Candlemas. It was the day between the spring equinox and winter solstice. According to the belief, if the sun came out on that day, it meant that the following six weeks would be cold.

The First Groundhog Was Eaten After His Prediction

That’s what the “Groundhog Day” movie hasn’t told you about. Back in 1887, after the first official Groundhog Day was celebrated on the site named the Gobbler's Knob, the participants of the event proceeded to the Punxsutawney Elks Lodge to eat the groundhog. Of course, when Punxsutawney Phil, a rodent that annually makes weather forecasts, started to become more and more popular, the groundhog was removed from the menu.

The Groundhog Isn’t Looking For His Shadow

According to the famous opinion, if the groundhog notices his shadow when he comes out of his burrow, there will be six more cold, snowy, and windy weeks. If he doesn’t go back to his hole, we can have hope for an early spring. In fact, groundhogs are coming out of their burrows to search for a mate. Usually, the females come out a week later than males start to search for them. When males find females, they go back to hibernation until March, but when they wake up, they know exactly where the females are. As for Punxsutawney Phil, he doesn’t hibernate at all. Instead, he lives in the Punxsutawney Library in a climate-controlled burrow made specifically for his comfort.

Phil Isn't The Only Weather Oracle 

There are a lot of weather forecasting groundhogs in addition to Punxsutawney Phil. The list of other famous rodents includes Jimmy from Sun Prairie, WI; General Beau Lee from Atlanta, GA; Birmingham Bill from Birmingham, Alabama; Wiarton Willie from Ontario, CA; and Staten Island Chuck from Staten Island, NY. Unfortunately, accidents happen to fragile furry weather oracles. For instance, Island's Chuck from New York was accidentally dropped last year and died a week after the incident.

Bill Murray Increased Groundhog Day Attendance

It’s obvious that Groundhog Day became famous because of the “Groundhogs Day” movie starring Bill Murray. The movie hit the screens in 1993, and the attendance of Punxsutawney on February 2nd increased from thousands to tens of thousands of people. The highest attendance of Groundhog Day was documented in 1997. At that year, 35,000 people came to see Punxsutawney Phil.

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