Punxsutawney Phil lives each year in preparation for February 2 each year when the community of Punxsutawney along with groundhog fans from around the world celebrate him. Every year the world’s most renowned groundhog emerges from his home to predict the weather for the upcoming year. The event in Pennsylvania is the most famous of all Groundhog Day festivals held in the United States and Canada.
This year will be unlike any other Groundhog Day celebration in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Typically around 40,000 people are known to gather in Punxsutawney each year.
Instead of gathering together to watch the annual celebration of the immortal groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil, in-person attendance is this year banned.
2021 will be the first time Phil will be wearing a mask, like all Inner Circle members due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Instead, fans of the Groundhog Day celebrations are urged to watch the live stream which begins at 6.30am EST (11.30am GMT) here.
For several years, the residents of Punxsutawney in Pennsylvania have maintained the belief that an immortal groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil can and will predict the end of winter.
The concept was popularised in the 1993 film Groundhog Day and in the Broadway musical adaptation of the film in 2016.
The weather lore was brought from German-speaking areas where the badger is the forecasting animal.
The first reported news of this festival was made by the Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper in 1886.
But, it was not until the following year the first “official” Groundhog Day was celebrated there.
How old is Punxsutawney Phil?
Part of the mythic lore surrounding Punxsutawney Phil is the fact that the groundhog is an immortal animal which has been performing the weather forecasting ritual since 1887.
According to the President of the Groundhog Club, Bill Deeley, Phil is 135 years old, having been alive since the ceremony began in 1887.
The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club website reads: “There has only been one Punxsutawney Phil.
“He has been making predictions since 1886.
“Punxsutawney Phil gets his longevity from drinking the “elixir of life,” a secret recipe.
“Phil takes one sip every summer at the Groundhog Picnic and it magically gives him seven more years of life.”
In the wild, groundhogs typical live up to six years, with two or three years being the average.
In captivity, groundhogs can live up to 14 years.
Punxsutawney Phil weighs about 20 pounds and is 22 inches long.
Over the course of his 135 years, his shadow has been seen 103 times.
His shadow was not seen 19 times during that same period.
There are no records for nine years and Phil did not make an appearance in 1943.