Groundhog Club Co-handler John Griffiths, left, holds the weather predicting groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, after he was taken from the stump before the club said Phil did not see his shadow and there will be an early spring on Groundhog Day, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, in Punxsutawney, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Surprisingly enough, people around the world know groundhog day only as a movie. Even more shocking: there is actually a holiday called groundhog day celebrated in the U.S. and Canada centered around a little rodent in a small town in Pennsylvania.
But there is much more to Punxsutawney phill than just trying to spot a shadow once a year and to predict the end of winter. The Punxsutawney Groundhog club sheds some light on his magical existence.
1. Punxsutawney Phil is the only true weather forecasting groundhog. “The others are just impostors,” claims the club
2. There has been only one Punxsutawney Phil. Punxsutawney Phil gets his longevity from drinking “groundhog punch.” One sip, which is administered every summer at the Groundhog Picnic, gives him seven more years of life.
3. Punxsutawney held its first Groundhog Day in the 1800’s. The first official trek to Gobbler’s Knob was made on February 2nd, 1887. This year will be the 128th prediction.
4. Legends has it that Punxsutawney Phil was named after King Phillip. Prior to being called Phil, he was called Br’er Groundhog.
It is believed that groundhog day started with the Germans who first settled Pennsylvania. They brought with them the legend of Candlemas Day, which states “For as the sun shines on Candlemas day, so far will the snow swirl in May…”
And this is how it looked like last year, from the viewpoint of the inner circle