History behind Punxsutawney Phil and Groundhog Day

Published: Feb. 2, 2015 at 3:29 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 2, 2015 at 3:38 PM EST
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(WTVM) – Punxsutawney Phil has predicted the nation will see six more weeks of winter in 2015.

Here are some fun facts about Phil and Groundhog Day.

Records going back to 1887 show Phil has now predicted more winter 102 times while forecasting an early spring just 17 times. There are no records for the remaining years.

According to Groundhog.org, the Groundhog Day tradition originates from similar beliefs associated with Candlemas Day and the days of early Christians in Europe.

The Germans started the tradition not with a groundhog, but with the hedgehog: if the hedgehog would see its shadow, there would be six more weeks of bad weather. The Germans recited: "For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day, so far will the snow swirl until the May."

The first event with Punxsutawney Phil in Punxsutawney, PA, was held in 1887.

Groundhog Day celebrations are held in other parts of the country including:

  • General Beauregard Lee in Atlanta
  • Sir Walter Wally in Raleigh, NC
  • Staten Island Chuck in New York
  • Birmingham Bill in Birmingham, AL

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