Punxsutawney Phil: Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary. February 2 was Groundhog Day; on that day tens of thousands of people crowded into Gobbler's Knob, a wooded area about two miles outside Punxsutawney, PA. Every year, fans from all over flood the relatively small town of Punxsutawney to see the famed groundhog emerge from his burrow and predict the end of winter.
Groundhog Day stemmed from the Christian holiday, Candlemas. According to an old English saying:
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again.
When the holiday was brought to America by Germans in the 1700s, this poem was the origin of the groundhog-centric tradition. If the sun shines on Groundhog Day and Phil sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter; if it is overcast and Phil does not see his shadow, spring will come early. The first official Groundhog Day was celebrated on February 2, 1886. Interestingly, the early Groundhog Day festivities included eating groundhog!
This year, the celebration started on January 30 with a lunch attended by Phil. Later that day, Gobbler's Knob Got Talent, an open-judged talent show, was held. In the evening of the 31, the Groundhog Ball took place, followed by the Annual Groundhog Banquet the next day. Starting bright and early on the 2, shuttle buses transported fans from downtown Punxsutawney to the Gobbler’s Knob beginning at 3:00 a.m. for the fans who want to secure a spot near the burrow. “Hogspitality” Village opened at 4:00 a.m., offering food, beverages, and a live video feed of the Knob. Phil emerged from his burrow at 7:25 a.m. EST and predicted six more weeks of winter.
Here are some fun facts about Punxsutawney Phil and Groundhog Day!