10 Groundhog Day Facts: What Do You Know About Punxsutawney Phil?

Fun and interesting facts about Groundhog Day, including ways to watch live online.

Groundhog Day is just around the corner, so here are some interesting tid-bits you may not have known!

Here are 10 facts that you may not have known about Groundhog Day:

1. Celestially Speaking

Groundhog Day on Feb. 2 is a "cross-quarter" day, about halfway between the winter solstice in December and the vernal equinox in March, and is celebrated in some cultures as the midpoint of winter. It's not far from the time many groundhogs end their hibernation anyway, around the second week of February. (Source: Cornell Chronicle)

2. No One Saw Their Shadow in "Groundhog Day"

According to IMDB, the time on the alarm clock in the film "Groundhog Day" isn't strictly accurate. In fact, a sun-filled room at six in the morning on Groundhog Day is actually impossible. 

In the film, Bill Murray's character starts Groundhog Day everyday at six o'clock. The film makes it appear as though the sun is already up in Punxsutawney, Pennyslvania at six on February 2. 

Yet a little fact-checking shows that sunrise in the borough on February 2 actually occurs closer to 7:30am. Time and Date confirms the observation. (Source: Huffington Post)

3. Phil's Drinking Magic Punch

A groundhog's life span is normally 6 to 8 years. Phil receives a drink of a magical punch every summer during the annual Groundhog Picnic, which gives him 7 more years of life. (Source: The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club)

4. Phil's Also on Twitter

Punxsutawney Phil broke telecommunications ground for rodents in 2010 by allowing people to sign up for a text message notification of his prediction by texting "Groundhog" to 247365. Like any media savvy public figure, Phil is also planning to update his Facebook status and tweet his prediction as well this year.(Source: The Christian Science Monitor)

5. Can't be Worse Than a Weatherman

February 2 brings the most-watched weather forecast of the year – and the only one led by a rodent. (Source: TeacherVision)

6. This Has Been Going on for Thousands of Years

The custom of predicting future weather conditions based on animals dates back at least a thousand years, but using the weather on Feb. 2 to forecast a longer winter is more recent than that. 

It was during the Dark Ages in Europe that this widespread superstition took hold. Peasants and nobles noticed a strong connection between a bright, sunny, medieval Candlemas Day and long, dreary winter weather extending into the next six weeks.

In Germany, meanwhile, it was the hedgehog that played a starring role in a similar belief. (Source:Chiff.com)

7. Do You Know the Inner Circle?

Did you know the top-hatted men who lead the Punxsutawney Phil ceremony are known as the "Inner Circle?" 

There are 15 members of the Inner Circle, according to the The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club website. 

The Inner Circle members (whose pictures and bios are available on the club's website) each have titles that range from standard: President, Secretary/Treasurer; to the uncommon: Thunder Conductor, Iceman and His Protector. (Source: Huffington Post)

8. What Are the Odds

According to the Stormfax Almanac, the groundhog is only right 39 percent of the time – a failing grade in school terms. (Source: The Christian Science Monitor

9. Phil's Not the Only One

Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil is not the only weather-predicting animal. Georgia has General Beauregard Lee, and Canada has Wiarton Willie. And Canada's Wiarton Willie is no ordinary brown groundhog – Willie is an albino groundhog who has been predicting when spring will arrive since 1956. (Source: TeacherVision)

10. Watch Groundhog Day Live from Gobbler's Knob

Not in front of the TV? At the office, in the classroom, at the mall? No problem! Watch the live Groundhog Day Webcast by clicking here. (Source: The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club)


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