The First Celebration
Punxsutawney Phil is the focal point of the oldest and largest annual Groundhog Day celebration, held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. According to groundhog.org, 1886 marked the first time that Groundhog Day appeared in Punxsutawney newspaper, but 1887 was the first time the official trek to Gobbler’s Knob took place.
The date of the celebration coincides with the medieval feast of Candlemas, and its pre-Christian predecessor, Imbolc, a day also rich in folklore. An old Scottish prophecy foretells that sunny weather on Candlemas means a long winter.
How Does The Almanac Do It?
The Farmers’ Almanac uses a mathematical and astronomical formula to make long-range weather predictions, not folklore. They look at sunspot activity, tidal action of the Moon, positions of the planets, and many other factors to carefully craft a year’s worth of weather forecasts. Fans of the Almanac say our weather forecasts are accurate 80-85% of the time.