Happy Groundhog Day!

How perfect is that Groundhog Day land on a #TBT? We feel like Bill Murray in the movie of the same name. We seem to do this every year…Then again, it’s not deja vu or a rip in the magical space-time continuum. It’s tradition.

So let’s catch up on an annual event that the people of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania love so much that they even have their own Punxsutawney Groundhog Club (apparently you can even join!).

Here’s a short history from the official website:

Punxsutawney Phil's handler Ron Ploucha introduces the groundhog to the crowd at Gobbler's Knob in PunxsutawneyGroundhog Day, February 2nd, is a popular tradition in the United States. It is also a legend that traverses centuries, its origins clouded in the mists of time with ethnic cultures and animals awakening on specific dates. Myths such as this tie our present to the distant past when nature did, indeed, influence our lives. It is the day that the Groundhog comes out of his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow.

If he sees it, he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole.

If the day is cloudy and, hence, shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.

The groundhog tradition stems from similar beliefs associated with Candlemas Day and the days of early Christians in Europe, and for centuries the custom was to have the clergy bless candles and distribute them to the people. Even then, it marked a milestone in the winter and the weather that day was important.

Old English song:

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.

Although Phil is obviously not the same throughout the past hundreds of years (or is her?), many believe that the tradition is not only fun but true. So every year, the town in Pennsylvania gets together to commemorate the day and see what the prediction is.  How accurate has Phil been?

How accurate has Phil been? Not very… According to

Not very… According to LiveScience, he’s only been right about 36-39% percent of the time.

What happened this year?

This morning, Phil saw his shadow so Phil’s followers think we have another 6 weeks of winter, because, apparently we haven’t had enough yet. Let’s hope he isn’t right.


About corncorps

As Illinois' corn farmers, we're proud to power a sustainable economy through ethanol, livestock and nutritious food. We love agriculture, the land and CornBelters baseball.See http://ilcorn.org or follow us on Twitter, http://twitter.com/ilcorn.
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