Are we in for 6 more weeks of winter? Only a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil knows for sure. Each year on Groundhog Day, people flock to Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to await the forecast of the local rodent celebrity. Originating with German settlers, who came to Pennsylvania in the 1700s and brought their seasonal superstitions with them, legend has it that if Phil sees his shadow on Feb. 2, the winter chill will continue. Oddly, if the weather is cloudy and he doesn’t see his shadow, we can expect warmer temperatures and an early spring.
Why We Love Groundhog Day
A. Punxsutawney Phil!
Besides being totally cute, the world’s most famous groundhog—Punxsutawney Phil—is quite the character. During Prohibition, Phil threatened to impose 60 more weeks of winter on the community if he wasn’t allowed to drink. In 1981, he wore a yellow ribbon to support the hostages in Iran, and in 1986 he traveled to Washington to meet with President Reagan. Phil has made guest appearances on Oprah, in the movie Groundhog, and on the JumboTron in Times Square.
B. Who doesn’t love an excuse to throw a party in the middle of winter?!
This holiday has been celebrated in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania for over 130 years. Each year, thousands of people travel to this little town to witness Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction. With events ranging from the crowning of “Little Mr. and Miss Groundhog” to the annual “Groundhog Ball,” Punxsutawney is the place to be.
C. It gives us an excuse to watch the movie Groundhog Day again
Arguably one of the best Bill Murray movies ever made, this romantic comedy can be watched over and over without ever growing stale. It is considered by some to have hidden messages relating to Buddhism and has even inspired a self-help book.
How to Celebrate Groundhog Day
1. Make the trip to Gobbler’s Knob
Celebrate with your fellow Punxsutawney Phil lovers on Feb. 2 as the “Prognosticator of Prognosticators” makes his yearly prediction. Enjoy the annual “Breakfast with Phil” and or view the “Seer of Seers” at his burrow in Barclay Square.
2. Plan a Punxsutawney Phil viewing breakfast
Phil gets up early—7:25 am EST to be exact—but you can expect the predictions of the famous groundhog to be covered on several of the major networks. Find out what Phil has to say and then sit down for breakfast with a group of friends.
3. Join the Groundhog Club
For a membership fee of $15, you can join the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. Your membership entitles you to an official membership card signed by the President of the Groundhog Club, a copy of the annual “Official Proclamation,” and a subscription to the quarterly “Groundhogese”—the official Groundhog Club newsletter. You will also be invited to a members reception in Punxsutawney on February 1 held by the Inner Circle, where you will learn of all the happenings for Groundhog celebrations and mingle with your fellow club members.
NationalToday.com Groundhog Day Survey
To conduct the NationalToday.com Groundhog Day Survey, the National Today data science team surveyed 1,035 Americans about their perceptions of the unusual holiday. Here are the full results:
HALF OF AMERICANS DON’T ACTUALLY KNOW WHEN GROUNDHOG DAY IS
When asked what date the holiday falls on, only 49% of Americans answered correctly (Feb. 2).
AMERICANS ARE A LITTLE CONFUSED ABOUT GROUNDHOG DAY
While 89% of Americans understand what the holiday is about, another 11% don’t really get it.
OPINIONS ABOUT GROUNDHOG DAY
#1: I’m not a big fan of Groundhog Day (91%)
#2: I think it is a pointless holiday (30%)
#3: The real meaning of the holiday is Punxsutawney Phil (12%)
#4: I love Groundhog Day (9%)
#5: I believe the groundhog is always right about the weather (8%)
CELEBRATING GROUNDHOG DAY
#1: I don’t celebrate Groundhog Day (42%)
#2: I have never seen a real groundhog (24%)
#3: I celebrate it by watching the movie Groundhog Day (13%)
#4: I celebrate it every year (7%)
#5: I have used the holiday as an excuse not to go to work (3%)
Source: NationalToday.com Groundhog Day Survey