It’s not everyday that groundhogs predict the weather. Then again, not every groundhog is Punxsutawney Phil.
On Feb. 2, the famous groundhog saw his shadow, predicting spring to be around the corner. This is the 130th anniversary of the Groundhog Day celebration and festivities in Pennsylvania.
Groundhog day began in 1886 and is closely associated with an old European Christian holiday called Candlemas Day. On this day, candles are blessed and distributed to signify the heart of the winter season.
The event of Groundhog Day is celebrated in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania’s earliest settlers brought the original celebration over from Germany.
According to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s official website, the average groundhog is 20 inches long and normally weighs 12 to 15 pounds. However, Punxsutawney Phil is 22 inches and weighs roughly 20 pounds.
The average lifespan of a groundhog is six to eight years with the exception of Punxsutawney Phil. His diet consists of fruits, vegetables and a little water. He is also fed a “magical punch” every summer that ensures another seven years to his life, according to the website.
So, why the name Punxsutawney Phil? The story states he was named after King Phillip II. Before he was Phil, he was Br’er Groundhog.
The amount of truth his prediction creates may be true for the majority of the United States. However, it has yet to prove any relevance to South Dakota winters, which last substantially longer than the average.