The Pennsylvania Tradition of the Groundhog
What does a sleepy, furry marmot have to do with seasonal change? According to fans of Punxsutawney Phil, everything! But why?
The story of Groundhog Day begins with Candlemas, an early Christian holiday where candles were blessed and distributed. Celebrators of the holiday eventually declared clear skies on Candlemas meant a longer winter. The Roman legions, during the conquest of the northern country, brought this tradition to the Germans, who concluded that if the sun made an appearance on Candlemas Day, a hedgehog would cast a shadow, thus predicting six more weeks of bad weather or "Second Winter." German immigrants brought the tradition to Pennsylvania, but how did Punxsutawney Phil emerge?
In 1887, a spirited group of groundhog hunters from Punxsutawney dubbed themselves "The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club." One member was an editor of Punxsutawney's newspaper. Using his ink, he proclaimed Punxsutawney Phil, the local groundhog, to be the one and only weather prognosticating groundhog. He issued this proclamation on Candlemas, and yes, Groundhog Day. Phil's fame spread, and newspapers from around the globe began to report his Gobbler's Knob prediction. Today you will find 20,000+ in attendance and millions watching on television or via the web.
For more information, visit Punxsutawney's official Groundhog site.
Groundhog Day News & Press
For all the latest news on February 2 and interesting story angles check out our press materials below. If you'd like to snag an interview with the Inner Circle or have other media questions, visit our media room.