Every year, February 2nd sees legendary groundhog Punxsutawney Phil emerge from his burrow to predict the future. If it’s cloudy when he pokes his little head out, it’s said that spring will arrive early. If it’s sunny, he’ll see his shadow, retreat into his den, and winter will last another 6 weeks.
Everyone knows which outcome they’re rooting for (who wants winter to last any longer than absolutely necessary?). But here are a few things you probably didn’t know about Groundhog Day.
- Punxsutawney Phil has never died
According to legend, today’s Punxsutawney Phil is the very same groundhog that originally predicted the future in 1887. This is because Punxsutawney’s Inner Circle (tasked with organizing and managing all the Groundhog Day festivities as well as decisions) says that every summer, Punxsutawney Phil’s life is extended for 7 more years when he takes a big gulp of his “groundhog nog” at an annual picnic at Gobbler’s Knob.
Unfortunately, according to Punxsutawney Inner Circle President Bill Deeley, that groundhog nog’s does not hold the same power to extend the life of humans.
Bonus fun fact: When Punxsutawney Phil isn’t at Gobbler’s Knob, he lives in a heated section of the Punxsutawney Memorial Library, in the children’s area. He is joined by 3 other groundhogs, including his wife, Phyllis.
- The film Groundhog Day wasn’t actually filmed in Punxsutawney
Despite being set in Punxsutawney, PA, the 1993 film Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell, was not filmed there. In fact, most of the film was shot in Woodstock, Illinois, near Chicago. Director Harold Ramis calls Chicago home, which may have something to do with that.
Bonus fun fact: A year before the film was released, Bill Murray ducked out of another film project to attend the Groundhog Day festivities in Punxsutawney in 1992.
- There’s no school in Punxsutawney on Groundhog Day
Students at Punxsutawney Area High School all have the whole day off on Groundhog Day. Why? Because all the school buses are used for something else – to bring thousands of people to and from Gobbler’s Knob for the festivities.