Why is Punxsutawney Phil THE groundhog on Groundhog Day? We looked into it
Well, shoot! The Northeast woke up this morning, February 2nd, to learn that our little furry friend, Punxsutawney Phil, saw his shadow. That means we’ll have six more weeks of winter. Come on, Phil. Throw us a bone here.
But hey, who are we to question the all-mighty groundhog? We’ve been trusting Punxsutawney Phil’s judgement every Groundhog Day for 131 years. And according to The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s Groundhog Day website, the Phil we pulled out of hibernation at Gobbler’s Knob this morning is the same Phil Pennsylvanians pulled out of his burrow in 1887.
"Punxsutawney Phil gets his longevity from drinking the "elixir of life," a secret recipe," the Club's site states. "Phil takes one sip every summer at the Groundhog Picnic and it magically gives him seven more years of life."
Guys, we’re not making this up.
When Phil gets rousted from his hole, he speaks his prediction to the Groundhog Club president in “Groundhogese,” a language only understood by the top hat-wearing president of the “Inner Circle.” The president then translates Phil’s forecast to the rest of the world.
Although Punxsutawney Phil is a truly magical rodent, he didn’t go to school for meteorology. He instead follows the old Christian tradition of Candlemas brought to Pennsylvania by the first settlers: “For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day, so far will the snow swirl in May…”
But of all the groundhogs in Punxsutawney, why was Phil the chosen one? Truthfully, Phil’s world-renown fame is thanks to one member of the original 1886 Groundhog Club who simply declared Phil the one and only weather-predicting groundhog via the local Punxsutawney newspaper.
And he wasn’t originally called Phil (he was later named Phil after King Phillip). Our favorite rodent’s OG name was actually Br’er Groundhog.
To make sure Phil isn’t on vacation when we need him most, he and his wife, Phyllis (yes, Phil is happily married thank you very much), actually live in the Punxsutawney library. He’s then chauffeured to Gobbler’s Knob by the Inner Circle to participate in annual Groundhog Day festivities.
Other states across America claim to have their own weather-predicting groundhogs. But the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club warns us not to buy into these imposters. Punxsutawney Phil is the only groundhog worth listening to come February 2nd.
We may not always like his predictions. And sometimes his predictions aren’t even right (although the Groundhog Club would say otherwise). But we must remind ourselves that Phil is just doing the only job he’s ever known.
Thank you for your service, Punxsutawney Phil.