We gather by the thousands in the cold in the middle of pennsylvania, to see a glorified rodent come out of the ground just to scurry back in this hole. Is there a lot of scientific truth or logic to this process? Spoiler alert not so much if february isn’t your month and all this gushy lovey junk makes you want to crawl in a hole. I actually may have the perfect valentine for you. So his name is phil he’s from pennsylvania. My home state represent. He stands at about 20 inches tall and i know that may be too short for you, but girl. You can’t, be picky, it’s, cuffing season, oh brunette and a definite homebody except you know, on those random days when he decides to leave the house. But this guy is kind of scared of his own shadow, so that doesn’t happen often oh and he’s, basically a meteorologist. So what do you think? Okay, so i’m, not setting you up with a short brunette man who’s. Basically, a hermit i’m talking about february’s, true star of the show punxsutawney phil. Basically, this famous groundhog is responsible for telling the world whether or not we will endure six more weeks of winter or, if we’re in for an early spring, this guy crawls out of his hole and onto quite an elaborate stage to greet thousands of loving fans with His predictions about the season to come if he sees his shadow up on that stage, that essentially means we shouldn’t put away our mittens.
Quite yet winter is sticking around a bit longer. If he doesn’t see his shadow spring is well on its way. The celebration of groundhog day, as we know it actually began over 130 years ago, but before we gathered from near and far to see a rodent pop out of the ground february, 2nd was known as candlemas an ancient christian tradition in which the clergy would bless and Distribute candles needed for winter. The candles represented how long and cold the winter ahead was going to be over time. Candle miss evolved into another form, a means of predicting the season’s weather ahead, but still no involvement of phil or any of his woodland creatures. It wasn’t until this tradition made its way to germany that an animal was introduced to the forecast mix, forget candles. We wanted hedgehogs according to german lore. If the hedgehog saw his shadow on candle miss day, there would be a second winter or six more weeks of bad weather and, as these german settlers made their way to the u.s, their hedgehog meteorologist traditions came with them. However, it’s not often you see an abundance of hedgehogs, burrowing and hibernating in the united states, so a similar animal was chosen to continue the tradition and you guessed it. A groundhog now hosted in punxsutawney pennsylvania groundhog day has been held every year since 1886 at the gobbler’s knob grounds. Our official source groundhog.org tells us that it’s quote a day to take everything a little less seriously and break up the winter monotony, at least for a little while i feel kind of bad i’ve been bashing.
My man phil saying that his once a year, appearance, doesn’t mean much and it’s all just fun and games. So i’m gon na call in one of the experts to tell us about the legitimacy of what phil has done over the past 133 years. No one knows this guy and his tactics better than the punxsutawney groundhog club: hey steph, i’m jeff lundy i’m, president of the punk’s tiny groundhog club member of the inner circle, i’m, one of phil’s friends and my moniker in the club is fairweatherman. So i just have a couple of questions about our friend phil and about the holiday and everything like that. So, first and foremost, how long ago did this wildlife forecast begin in punk bhitani? Well, the actual time for the forecast of the groundhog club, knowing it goes back, i think it’s 1887, which is like, like it’s around 135 years that’s. When phil came out of the woods now he may have been predicting. You know before that i mean maybe just for some local farmers or you know whoever was hanging out at that time, but he’s been forecasting for us uh. Since then, will you just tell me a little bit about what you do and what your role is in the day, i’ve been a member of the what we call the inner circle which this you can picture it kind of like the board of directors of of Our organization uh we’re, the people that take care of phil.
We all have little roles. We all do different things. The most important role is not mine, it’s, the handler who has the relationship with phil right now. I’M. President, i apparently did not attend one of the meetings and then came to the next meeting, and i was president that’s kind of how things work in organizations and i had to learn. Groundhog ease. I had to learn how to speak to phil, because only the president came with this cane and it’s very hard, okay, so one thing i kind of want to hear a little bit more about that you’ve already touched on. This was not in my anticipated questions, because this is brand new information. What do you mean by groundhog whispering? What are these signals that you’re going to be looking at well, it’s called groundhog ease, so phil does not speak. So if you look at any of our literature or you look at any of our things – you’re not going to see a bubble with with phil on it because he doesn’t speak. You know in our language, he understands it, but he doesn’t speak it because you know as his own language, his language is groundhog ease. So the tradition is that whoever’s, the president is the only one who can speak to phil, and i have this cane that we keep locked up and it’s. When i hold this cane i’m in theory, uh is able to communicate with phil. You know it’s kind of like a wink and a nod, and you kind of got ta know you know and in his paws you know, he’s he’s got these little hands that don’t have thumbs.
You know that’s why you can’t thumb like you’ll, never see a groundhog on the side of the road that’s old for you i know, but for me for thumbing you know like when you have to go to college. You would thumb you can’t, do it because it doesn’t have thumbs it. Doesn’T have opposing thumbs. Um so, like the little hand, signals those work too. Sometimes he’ll do that, like if he’s counting, i think he does that, but so that’s groundhog ease. I love that i had and i can’t really tell everybody about it either, because you know that would be violate. The whole right kicked out as president yeah. I don’t blame you that’s some secret stuff, it’s pretty respectful. So i know you kind of talked about this. A little bit, but what is the largest crowd you’ve ever seen on groundhog day at celebration? Was it last year yeah? I think it really was. It becomes a point where the crowd is so large that you, you actually can’t, see the end of it. I mean you literally can’t from the knob you can’t see, you know how many are there um, but i would say it was the largest crowd. The second largest was was about two years after the movie. I think, and just so you’re aware too, on groundhog day people, if you go to our website, i mean it. It starts as a stage production like at four in the morning yeah and it lasts for like three hours of dancing and music and huge fireworks, and so you know that part is what we’ll miss more than anything this year: it’s the interaction with people and um.
So we’re trying to do everything we can to kind of maintain that contact that we have right, that’s, so awesome um, i don’t know if you can disclose this information, but how old is phil? Well, we we know he’s, 135., okay, okay, um because that’s when he came out of the woods. So i but you know past that i i don’t, know okay good to know yeah i mean it’s. Just you know i i don’t know we we just say he’s he’s around that age, all right! Thank you! So much yeah, nice uh, nice meeting you maybe our pas, will cross again. I hope so thanks hi. Thank you. Okay! So now we know all about phil and his forecaster abilities, but is he the only groundhog with this type of clout? I will be the first to admit. I thought every state had their own groundhog to watch, celebrate and count on for groundhog day stratos traditions. Sharing this information was slightly embarrassing, but can you blame me? I grew up in pennsylvania with punxsutawney phil in my backyard. I never had to worry about another state’s groundhog, but the joke’s on everyone else, because other states have in fact picked up on this tradition with their own furry friends in the ground. For example, have you met sir walter wally of rally north carolina or birmingham bill? Birmingham alabama buckeye chuck of marion ohio, french creek, freddy french creek, west virginia woodstock, willie of woodstock illinois, chesapeake, chuck of newport news, virginia chuckles from manchester connecticut, chattanooga, chuck from chattanooga tennessee and lastly, the most unique name jimmy just jimmy of sun prairie wisconsin.
It may sound silly to rely on a shadow and or a groundhog, to tell us what’s in store for the rest of the season and to be fair. The whole shadow thing is just a fun tradition and a show at this point, but that doesn’t mean the animals don’t have the ability to sense. Other types of weather patterns take frogs. For example, these amphibians are said to croak longer and louder than usual, when bad weather is on the horizon. When a frog’s croak volume increases a storm is brewing. Farmers also believe that cows have some kind of weather sense as well. According to legend, when cows sense bad weather, they actually become restless and swat flies with their tails or they lie down in the pasture to save a dry spot. So perhaps my friend phil is on to something. What have we learned? Basically, we wait for a 134 year old, rodent to pop out of the ground on february, 2nd all because of the germans who just had to change ancient tradition and as much as i love phil. And i wish that his shadow had some pull when it comes to packing out my parka there isn’t much accuracy or evidence to support his forecasts. So my friends that’s the scoop on this holiday be sure to come back next friday for another episode of cool stuff.