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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

You can lead a groundhog to sunlight, but...

Yes, today is Groundhog Day and according to (the The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club website), Punxsutawney Phil says "six more weeks of winter!"

For those of you who don't know (perhaps due to living in a hole?) Groundhog Day is held on Feb. 2, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania every year, and according to tradition: If the groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, sees his shadow, we're stuck with six more weeks of winter. If he doesn't see his shadow, we luck out with an early spring.

The tradition dates back to 1887, and though the origins are unclear, it is said to have originated from ancient European weather lore in which a badger or sacred bear predicts the weather, rather than a groundhog. It also has religious origins, as it shares similarities with Candlemas Day, which is also on Feb. 2. According to an old English song, "If Candlemas be fair and bright,/ Come, Winter, have another flight."

Here are a few interesting (at least interesting to a groundhog) facts:

Punxsutawney Phil can now text you his Tuesday weather prediction. Just text "Groundhog" to 247365 on Groundhog Day.

States without groundhogs are taking matters into their own hands by choosing their own weather predictor. Texas, for example, chose its state mammal, an armadillo, to predict the weather for their first "Armadillo Day."

Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow 97 times, has not seen it 15 times, and nine years are unaccounted for.

The National Climatic Data Center reportedly stated that Phil's prediction's have been correct 39 percent of the time. This number is in conflict with Phil's club, which states he's been right 100 percent of the time.

According to, there's a legend that during Prohibition, Phil threatened to impose 60 weeks of winter on the community if he wasn't allowed a drink.

In the years following the release of Groundhog Day, a 1993 film starring Bill Murray, crowds numbering as high as 30,000 have visited Gobbler's Knob, a tiny hill in Punxsutawney where the ceremony takes place.

Though groundhogs typically live only six to eight years, Groundhog Day lore suggests that Phil drinks a magic elixir every summer, which gives him seven more years of life.

PETA, an animal rights group, wants organizers of Pennsylvania's Groundhog Day festival to replace Punxsutawney Phil with a robotic stand-in.

Whether you agree or disagree with PETA, you've got to admit that they do run some eye-catching advertising:

Proof that you can lead a groundhog to aCandlemas celebration, but you can't make him dance naked.

Sir Bowie "who did NOT see his shadow today in Evansville, Indiana" of Greenbriar


  1. no shadow, winter!
    just melting snow, more to come
    outside fun and games

  2. Let's see? Where to start? First, you can make a groundhog dance naked if you skin him first! Second, I've never seen the PETA ads until man's cause is another man's PORN! If Karina is the prize, then yes...I'd rather dance naked than wear fur!

    As for the groundhog...with today's TV lights he's always going to see his shadow.

    Nice informative blog.

    Sir Hook the Lion in Winter of Warrick

  3. ahh happy memories of Feb 1988...before the film.... before the whole thing got crazy... we went and danced the Pennsylvannian Polka at Gobblers Knob in Punksatawney.. and strained over the shoulders of the crowd to catch sight of the perfectly happy rodent, These Peta folk have no comprehension of the stress of actually living out in the wild with its diseases and predators. Phil knew he had hit the Lottery of life..

    Sir D