1. Yes, Punxsutawney Phil is the only true weather forecasting groundhog. The others are just imposters.
2. There has been only one Punxsutawney Phil. Punxsutawney Phil gets his longevity from drinking “groundhog punch” (a secret recipe). One sip, which is administered every summer at the Groundhog Picnic, gives him seven more years of life.
3. On February 2nd, Phil comes out of his burrow on Gobbler’s Knob, in front of thousands of faithful followers from all over the world, to predict the weather for the rest of the winter.
4. According to legend, if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If he does not see his shadow, there will be an early spring.
5. No, Punxsutawney Phil’s forecasts are not made in advance by the Inner Circle. After Phil emerges from his burrow on February 2nd, he speaks to the Groundhog Club President in Groundhogese. His proclamation is then translated for the world.
6. The celebration of Groundhog Day began with the Germans, Pennsylvania’s earliest settlers. They brought with them the legend of Candlemas Day, which states “For as the sun shines on Candlemas day, so far will the snow swirl in May…”. The settlers found that groundhogs were plentiful and were the most intelligent and sensible animal to carry on the legend of Candlemas Day.
7. Punxsutawney held its first Groundhog Day in the 1800’s. The first official trek to Gobbler’s Knob made on February 2nd, 1887. In 2008 it will be the 122nd prediction.
8. So the story goes, Punxsutawney Phil was named after King Phillip. Prior to being called Phil, he was called Br’er Groundhog.