Punxsutawney Phil’s Favorite Day!

Do you know the history of Groundhog Day? Find out to prepare you for this years prediction!


The Independent

Punxsutawney Phil getting interviewed after his prediction.

Avery Rudicel, Design Editor

Groundhog Day is celebrated on February 2, when the groundhog is supposed to predict the weather for the next six weeks. While this holiday may not seem important, the history behind it makes it an intriguing day.

Groundhog day emerges from the Christian Festival of Candlemas on February 2. The celebration of Candlemas was when prayers were said over candles for winter. They believed this would help bring blessings to the people and their houses. Before this tradition was brought to Germany there were no animals involved, but the Germans soon shifted the tradition to be their own. They added to the folklore that if the animal, at that time a hedgehog, saw its shadow then winter will last six more weeks. When the Germans came to America, they brought their traditions with them. With the lack of hedgehogs, they picked the groundhog to take its place. In 1886, the first Groundhog Day was advertised in the local newspaper in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania (Groundhog). Today Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania is still the headquarters of Groundhog Day being where Phil the groundhog lives.

Last year people were in a panic over rumors about Punxsutawney Phil, the famous groundhog predictor, dying the day before Groundhog Day. Those rumors are false; Phil is still alive, but sadly Miltown Mel from New Jersey did pass away (NPR). Phil is seen as the “real groundhog” that gives the actual weather predictions, but many places have their own groundhog that represents this holiday. 

This year Groundhog Day is on Thursday, February 2, 2023. As people wait to see what Phil predicts, they are making their own guesses for the day. According to The National Today, 67% of people think that Phil will see his shadow and 33% think he will not see his shadow this year. The National Today also asked people how accurate they think Phil’s predictions are: 24.6% said it is accurate 20% of the time, 25.2% said it is accurate 30-40% of the time, 32.4% said it is accurate 40-60% of the time, 9.9% said it is accurate 60-80% of the time, 3.7% said it is accurate 80-90% of the time, and 4.2% said it is accurate every time. Can a groundhog really predict the weather? No, while there is no actual association between the weather and what the groundhog sees, it still provides a fun way to celebrate the coming of spring.