Wednesday, February 02, 2011
Groundhog Day is an American phenomenon. A number of cities boast rodents capable of predicting the advent of spring, but there is only one Punxsutawney Phil.
Punxsutawney Phil is a 20-pound specimen of Marmota monax who, on February 2 each year, predicts when spring will arrive. He has also put his western Pennsylvania town on the map while becoming a movie star, especially through roles in films like Groundhog Day. Further proof of Phil's status can be found in the form of limited edition Punxsutawney Phil Beanie Babies.
Phil today wears his mantle of stardom lightly, thriving on a special diet of dog food and ice cream in his climate-controlled home at the Punxsutawney Library, where he is cared for by his handler, local funeral director Bill Deeley. Also remarkable is Phil's longevity.
The groundhog event was first recorded in 1841. Official Groundhog Day celebrations began in 1886, and the creature was named "Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary."