Did The Groundhog See His Shadow & Other Groundhog Day Questions Answered
Amidst the excitement of the Super Bowl, buzz about Groundhog Day seems to be a little quiet this year. But that doesn't mean it's not important! So did the groundhog see his shadow, and will there be six more weeks of winter?
Yep, looks like good old Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow so stay tuned for six more weeks of winter. That means more snow, sleet, and freezing temps are on the way. Listen, you're not the only one who wants to tell Phil to F off.
So, will Phil's prediction come true? We've answered that and six more burning questions you may have about Groundhog Day. You're welcome.
What is a groundhog?
Let’s start with the basics. A groundhog and a woodchuck are the same thing — and no, they don’t chuck wood. They’re rodents and are most closely related to squirrels. Though the average lifespan of a groundhog is around 8 years, Punxsutawney Phil (the groundhog) is 128 years old. That’s due to a magical elixer he drinks that extends his life seven years.
What's in a name?
Our beloved little groundhog is commonly known as Punxsutawney Phil. According to Phil’s fan club (yes, he even has a fan club), Phil was named after King Phillip. Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania is where the tradition originated and still takes place today.
What does it mean if the groundhog sees his shadow?
So what does Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction mean? According to folklore, if the groundhog sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter and he goes back in his hole. If he doesn’t see his shadow, spring comes early, and he stays above ground.
How reliable is his prediction?
According to the National Climactic Data Center, not very. The NCDC cross-referenced their records with the groundhog’s predictions dating back to 1887, and he’s only been right 39 percent of the time. This means he has only correctly predicted the weather about 50 times over the past 127 years. It’s okay, Phil, at least you’re cute.
What did Phil predict last year?
Phil did not see his shadow in 2013, which meant that spring should have come early. His prediction was incorrect, and he received a lot of discontent from the people of Ohio. They brought an indictment against him for a felony “against the peace and dignity of the state of Ohio,” a crime punishable by death.
Does Phil actually live underground?
No. Though he emerges from his hole every February 2, Phil spends the rest of the year in the Punxsutawney Memorial Library with his “wife,” Phyllis. He is brought to his personalized tree stump every Groundhog Day to put on his show for all the eager onlookers.
What about the impostors?
Much like we all secretly aspire to be Beyonce (or maybe that’s just me?), there are a lot Phil-wannabe’s out there. Some impostors include Octorara Orphie of Quarryville, PA and Mel of Milltown, NJ. But rest assured, Phil is the only one that can “accurately” predict the weather.