Groundhog Day – a holiday that no one appreciates enough! Personally, I love Groundhog Day because I’m a Pennsylvanian. What is not to love – Punxsutawney Phil (who lives in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania) is adorable and the concept is so creative! In case you are not too familiar with this tradition, Groundhog Day happens once a year, every Feb. 2. when Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his burrow like a furry meteorologist ready to steal the spotlight. It’s the one day when a groundhog’s shadow becomes the talk of the town, determining if we are stuck in winter for another six weeks or spring has finally sprung!

You may think this tradition sounds stupid, but Phil has been weather reporting since the late nineteenth century. Before Phil was the celebrity we all know and love, he was more known for being lunch.The early celebrations of Groundhog Day involved eating Phil after he made his prediction. This was known as the “Groundhog Picnic.” Thankfully, groundhog meat left the menu and Phil became a public figure. In the 1960s, Phil got his name as a nod to King Philip. Phil is of course the original, however, he has actually inspired several imitators including Chuck in Staten Island and Thistle the Whistle Pig in Ohio. 

There is a club called “Groundhog Club” and they are in charge of setting up the wonderfully quirky event. The group waits for Phil to reach the top of the hill to see his shadow. If he sees his shadow, we get six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, Spring comes early! According to the Groundhog Club, Phil has a wife named Phyliss. It is so wonderful that he gets to share his fame with his wife! The Groundhog Club also claims that since 1886, there has only been one Punxsutawney Phil. They claim that he has been given the “elixir of life” and that he never dies. 

If you aren’t too keen on the silly tradition, perhaps you would love the movie! “Groundhog Day” is a classic 1993 comedy starring Bill Murray. He finds himself living the same day over and over again – Groundhog Day. With Murray’s brilliant performance and the film’s clever premise, “Groundhog Day” is a classic that anyone could enjoy. 

In terms of predictions, Phil is a hit or miss. Most of the time he does see his shadow, but that doesn’t necessarily mean winter is here to stay. Last year, Phil did see his shadow and some could say we had a longer winter. Obviously, a silly little groundhog cannot predict the weather, but we Pennsylvanians like to believe he can! It’s just a fun tradition that allows room for festivities and celebrations. 

Even though Phil normally sees his shadow every year, I had a feeling that he wouldn’t this year, and he didn’t! For the first time since 2020, Phil didn’t see his shadow. This means spring is coming early, hooray!

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