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Country Lifestyle

Why Groundhog Day Matters (Mostly)

January 29, 2023

Hear ye! Hear ye. Every year on the second day of February the U.S. looks to a furry weather prognosticator to tell us if winter is nearly done. We call this Groundhog Day! Punxsutawney Phil (or one of his kin) has foretold the weather in a spectacular fashion since 1887. Today, we have a quick look at the history behind this annual event and why it “mostly” matters to folks across the country.

Where it Originated

Settlers from Germany brought their love for weather-telling critters with them when they came to the new world. Back in the old country, the tradition centered around bears and badgers. The event happened on February 2, because it falls between the winter equinox and the official start of spring.

Where it Began in America

The first Groundhog Day in the U.S. happened on February 2, 1887 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. That makes Groundhog Day older than Washington State, which became part of the U.S. in 1889. Locals wanted to keep the tradition alive. But instead of using vicious animals like bears or badgers, they employed local groundhogs for the task.

Sunny Skies Equal More Winter

The legend goes like this, if the official weather-smart mammal sees their shadow on the second day in February, the country will experience six more weeks of winter instead of a gradual ease into spring. Therefore, if it’s sunny on that day, you can expect more winter to follow. But there’s more to that prediction that just sunshine and shadows. The president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club (established in 1987), talks to Phil in Groundhogese. We looked for an online course to learn this language, but came up empty-handed. During this discussion in a language known only by one human, Phil tells the president if there will be more winter or not.

How Often is Phil Correct?

According to the math, Phil gets it right a little over 30% of the time. That’s not bad. But those within the Groundhog Club’s inner circle quickly point out that Phil has a 100% track record. How can that be? Apparently, mistakes happen when the president doesn’t correctly understand Phil’s prediction and then relays the wrong forecast to Americans everywhere.

Happy Groundhog Day from Coastal

Whatever you do to celebrate this weather- and critter-related unofficial holiday, we hope Phil’s prediction brings joy and happiness. Whether there’s another six weeks of winter or not, you’ll find everything the country needs to face the elements at your West Coast-owned and operated Coastal.