Groundhog Day: How Does Punxsutawney Phil Make His Predictions?

By Staff Reporter on February 1, 2013 1:25 PM EST

Groundhog Day 2013 Watch Punxsutawney Phil Live
The clairvoyant "Punxsutawney Phil" will let us know tomorrow when springtime will begin. (Photo: Reuters)

Groundhog Day is celebrated tomorrow, Feb. 2.

A tradition built upon folklore, a groundhog emerges from its burrow to determine whether or not spring will come early. If Feb. 2 is a cloudy day, then the groundhog will not see its shadow, suggesting that spring will come early for the year. However, if Feb. 2 is a sunny day, then the groundhog will see its shadow, causing it to retreat back into its burrow. The shadow is an omen that suggests winter will stay for another six weeks.

Like Us on Facebook

The origins of Groundhog Day can be traced as far back to Feb. 4, 1841, thanks to a diary that belonged to James Morris, a storekeeper of Berks County, Pennsylvania. Groundhog Day is a Pennsylvania German custom that originated in the southeastern and central areas of Pennsylvania during the 18th and 19th century and was inspired by European folklore. The European weather lore claims that a badger or a sacred bear possesses the power of predicting spring's return.

To date, the annual festivities at Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, remains the largest Groundhog Day celebration in the world. Its mascot, resident groundhog "Punxsutawney Phil Sowerby," rests at a temporary home known as Gobbler's Knob, located in a rural area just two miles east of Punxsutawney.

A dedicated society, known as the Inner Circle, is responsible for tending to Punxsutawney Phil year-round. Members of this extremely important groundhog duty can be recognized by their trademark top hats and tuxedos.

According to proven zoological data, groundhogs live an average life span of ten years in captivity and six years in the world. However, this statistic does not apply for sacred Phil. In fact, the Groundhog Day believers claim that Phil has made his annual weather prognostications for the last 123 years. Each year, Phil is given a mysterious groundhog "elixir" that allows him to live on as an immortal.

Following Phil's divine emergence, the groundhog will speak to the Inner Circle members club president in "Groundhogese," a language only understood between Phil and the current president. The prediction later gets translated for the world to hear.

Are you looking forward to Phil's prediction? Would like to see the event for yourself? Be sure to catch it by clicking on the live stream link here!

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join the Conversation

Sponsored From Around the Web

    ZergNet
Follow iScience Times
us on facebook RSS
 
us on google
 
Most Popular
INSIDE iScience Times
Do Dolphins Get High? BBC Cameras Catch Dolphins Chewing On Pufferfish Toxins
Do Dolphins Get High? BBC Cameras Catch Dolphins Chewing On Pufferfish Toxins
How Many Ways Can You Tie A Tie?
How Many Ways Can You Tie A Tie?
Ribbon Of Charged Particles At Solar System's Edge Acts Like A Wind Sock For Interstellar Magnetism
Ribbon Of Charged Particles At Solar System's Edge Acts Like A Wind Sock For Interstellar Magnetism
How to Turn Your Tap Water Faucet  Into a Coffee Spout [VIDEO]
How to Turn Your Tap Water Faucet Into a Coffee Spout [VIDEO]
Coolest Science Photos Of 2013: From Blobfish To Two-Headed Shark, Comet ISON To Mars Selfie
Coolest Science Photos Of 2013: From Blobfish To Two-Headed Shark, Comet ISON To Mars Selfie
This Is A Scientifically-Proven Rock-Paper-Scissors Winning Strategy (But If Your Opponent Uses It Too, It's A Draw)
This Is A Scientifically-Proven Rock-Paper-Scissors Winning Strategy (But If Your Opponent Uses It Too, It's A Draw)