Happy Groundhog Day

Jerry WalchStarred Page By Jerry Walch, 2nd Feb 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>News>Off Beat

For those of us who believe Punxsutawney Phil, the most famous groundhog of all, to be an accurate prognosticator of the weather, get prepared for six more weeks of winter. Phil made his appearance at gobbler’s Knob this morning and saw his shadow. Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania is the weather capital of the world, at least that what Punxsutawney Phil’s loyal fans and followers, and he has many, would have us believe.

There has been only one Phil

At least that what legend would have you believe. Punxsutawney Phil made his first appearance in 1886, one year before people started making their legendary trek to Gobbler’s Knob. Today, February 2nd, 2014 would make Punxsutawney Phil 128 years old, if he made his first weather prognostication when he was one year old. Considering the fact that the typical groundhog lives 6 to 8 years, Phil has surpassed normal life expectancies by a factor of 16 to 23 times. His great record breaking good health is attributed to the magic potion he is given a sip of every summer during the annual groundhog picnic, this magic elixir extends Punxsutawney Phil’s life by another 7 years. I wonder if his magic elixir would work for us mere mortals. Punxsutawney Phil is also larger and heavier than your average ground hog. Most ground hogs grow to be between 12 to 15 pounds in weight and 20 inches long, while Phil weighs in at roughly 20 pounds and measures 22 inches long. I wonder if he has a special diet as well as a special, magic drink.

Groundhog Day—Half Your Hay

Groundhog Day—Half Your Hay was another belief followed by 19th century American farmers, specifically farmers living in the New England States. Those farmers knew that no matter how overcast February 2nd was, the New England States were far from the end of winter weather and they had better still have half their hay remaining. The farmers knew that without that hay remaining their cows would be in for some starvation time before the green grass appeared in their pastures.

The Celtic Tradition

The Celtic traditions have it that if a hibernating animal casts a shadow on February 2nd, the pagan holiday of Imbolc, winter will last another six weeks. If a hibernating animal casts no shadow on February 2nd, spring would arrive early. Groundhogs are one of the very few animals that actually hibernate. Hibernation is more than just a prolonged, deep sleep. During hibernation an animal’s body temperature drops to a couple of degrees above zero, breathing, blood flow, and heartbeat nearly cease—the hibernating animal is not asleep but in a deep coma.

Tags

Celtic Origins, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day Half Hay, Groundhogs, Shadows, Six Weeks Winter

Meet the author

author avatar Jerry Walch
Jerry Walch is a 71 year old freelance writer for hire living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He has been writing since the late 1970s, and writes for both the print and online media. He specializes in

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Comments

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
2nd Feb 2014 (#)

Well I sure hope spring comes soon because half our hay is gone! This winter has been rotten.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
2nd Feb 2014 (#)

I hear you Mark. This winter has been rougher than most of ours have been too..

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
2nd Feb 2014 (#)

Great post, fascinating reading, but I'm totally bummed to hear we're in for six more weeks of winter.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
2nd Feb 2014 (#)

Hi Steve. I don't put much faith in a groundhog seeing or not seeing his shadow as a weather prognosticator but from what the meteorologist are saying, Phil just turn out to be right.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
2nd Feb 2014 (#)

We have slightly different approaches to the same holiday coverage. Good job.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
2nd Feb 2014 (#)

Hi Phyl. Is your take on the holiday here on Wikinut?

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author avatar Connie McKinney
2nd Feb 2014 (#)

Nice overview of Groundhog Day and how it came to be, Jerry.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
2nd Feb 2014 (#)

Thank you Connie.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
2nd Feb 2014 (#)

this is great Jerry and the pics too...many thanks for all the information contained herein...

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author avatar Jerry Walch
3rd Feb 2014 (#)

My pleasure, Carolina. Thank you for reading and for commenting.

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author avatar M G Singh
3rd Feb 2014 (#)

Nice info Jerry. Interesting post

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author avatar Jerry Walch
3rd Feb 2014 (#)

Thanks Madan.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
3rd Feb 2014 (#)

Cmon Spring and sunny days, Mr Puxt!

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author avatar Jerry Walch
3rd Feb 2014 (#)

I hear you Fern.

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author avatar Retired
3rd Feb 2014 (#)

I watched the video Ground Hog Day 2014 and thought to myself where I live in Canada this little guy would not even get out of his hole in the ground, there is far too much snow.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
3rd Feb 2014 (#)

I think that there are many places like that Carolford.

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