06 Jan Searching for Answers on Groundhog Day
Searching for Answers on Groundhog Day
Groudhog Day is Friday, February 2. Popular searches around this holiday include:
- Why is there a Groundhog Day?
- Why do we celebrate Groundhog Day?
- What is the legend of Groundhog Day?
A lot of people are asking how many Punxsutawney Phils have there been. Although he made his first official forecast in 1887, Phil’s fans insist there has only ever been one Phil. MentalFloss.com put together some other fun facts on the rodent (yes, groundhogs are categorized as rodents), http://mentalfloss.com/article/54821/11-punxsutawney-phil-facts-groundhog-day among their findings:
- Phil has been on the job since 1887.
- He relies on a little sip of “Groundhog Punch” at the town’s annual Groundhog Picnic to keep him young.
- He lives in a library – with his wife, Phyllis. Yup, Phil & Phyllis.
And Phil isn’t the only celebrity groundhog in the forecasting business. There’s Shubencadie Sam up in Nova Scotia native, who – according to Hitory.com, is coaxed from the log house he calls home by a bagpiper and a town crier. (You have to wonder if Sam has ever predicted an early spring. Aside from the fact that he lives in Nova Scotia, if his shadow didn’t scare him back into his abode, that bagpipe surely would.)
Since 1981, Staten Island Chuck has been making his predictions from the Staten Island Zoo. According to History.com, “Staten Island Chuck claims an 80 percent accuracy rate in his predictions of an early spring or lingering winter, according to zoo officials. Like other celebrity groundhogs, Chuck maintains his own Twitter account in order to interact with fans.”
The Southeast turns to General Beauregard Lee (or “Beau,” as he’s known to friends) on Groundhog Day. Beau – who has two honorary doctoral degrees and a commendation from the National Weather Service, lives a luxurious existence at the Yellow River Game Ranch near Atlanta, Georgia.
“Tiny Wiarton, Ontario, has built quite a tourist trade around the annual weather predictions of its albino groundhog, Willie,” History.com reports. “Begun in 1956, the three-day winter festival now attracts thousands of people for the music and sports, sort of like a rock concert with curling.” Fortunately, the current descendant of the original Willie is also an albino.
One of our favorite questions appearing in the top Groundhog Day searches is this one:
- Is a groundhog dangerous?
We couldn’t resist looking it up. Turns out, the little critters can be dangerous to your garden. They can also pose a threat if you happen to be the mayor of a town with a city with a Groundhog Day celebration. As History.com reports, “Staten Island Chuck gained notoriety in 2009 when he bit New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg on the finger during the city’s Groundhog Day event.” Jimmy the Groundhog nipped Sun Prairie Mayor Jon Freund on the ear in 2015. For his sins, that particular Jimmy was banished from the spotlight forever and released into the wild. A replacement was found for 2016 – the mayor was replaced by then, too. The new mayor opted to leave the new Jimmy in his cage.
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