Groundhog Day!
Written by Andrea Spaans
February 1, 2024

Groundhog Day is a tradition observed in the United States and Canada on February 2 of every year, featuring a rodent meteorologist, Phil, is celebrated for the first time at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania in 1887. The superstition that if a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day and sees its shadow, it will retreat to its den and winter will go on for six more weeks; if it does not see its shadow, spring will arrive early. The ceremony at Punxsutawney in western Pennsylvania has become the most frequently attended ceremony. It’s what’s known as a “cross-quarter” day, meaning it falls at the midpoint between one season and another.

Groundhogs are also known as woodchucks; groundhogs belong to a group of large ground squirrels known as marmots. They grow up to 25 inches long and can live for 10 years in captivity. (According to legend, Punxsutawney Phil is more than 125 years old thanks to the magical punch he imbibes every summer.)

Groundhogs spend the winter hibernating in their burrows, significantly reducing their metabolic rate and body temperature; by February, they can lose as much as half their weight. When they’re out and about, the bristly rodents eat succulent plants, wild berries and insects—and they don’t mind helping themselves to garden vegetables or agricultural crops.

How often is Punxsutawney Phil right?

Sadly, the groundhog is often wrong when it comes to his predictions.

Since making his first prediction in 1887, Punxsutawney Phil has been right 39% of the time, according to the Stormfax Weather Almanac however, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Centers for Environmental Information looked at the most recent predictions and found from 2012-21, Phil was right 40% of the time when comparing the national temperature averages. 


Do you believe in Phil’s predictions? Are you hoping for an early spring, boy we are!


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