|Bill and Phil in Punxsutawney, PA on Groundhog Day
If it’s true that every dog has his day, so does a groundhog. And that date is TODAY!
Groundhog Day is a holiday centered on one simple question: Will the groundhog see his or her shadow? Supposedly, if said animal — most famously Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania — is frightened by that shadow and heads back inside, we’ll have six more weeks of winter.
In 1886, the Punxsutawney (Pa.) Spirit newspaper printed the first news of a Groundhog Day observance. The next year, the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club celebrated for the first time at Gobbler’s Knob, and the newspaper’s editor declared Phil was America’s official weather-forecasting groundhog.
Those celebrations continue each year in Punxsutawney.
Other weatherman groundhogs around the country include Buckeye Chuck in Ohio, Gen. Beauregard Lee in Georgia and Chattanooga Chuck, who works as “the chief seasonal forecaster” at the Tennessee Aquarium.
The obscure February holiday got a huge shot in the arm with the 1993 Bill Murray comedy “Groundhog Day.” Murray stars as a jaded TV weatherman who is sent to Punxsutawney to cover the festivities.
After being stranded in the small town due to a snowstorm, he wakes up the next morning to discover he’s forced to relive the same day over and over and over. In February. In Pennsylvania. Not exactly paradise. The best way to celebrate Groundhog Day is to watch the comedy and salute Punxsutawney Phil on his special day.
Enjoy your 24 hours of fame, Phil. Once you’re done predicting the weather, it’s back to obscurity for another year.
Photo: Courtesy of The Guardian newspaper.