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Groundhog Day: Fun facts beyond the Bill Murray movie
Groundhog Day is Saturday, Feb. 2, and if you're looking for some fun facts about the holiday that shares a name with the comedy classic starring Palisades' Bill Murray, look no further.
-Groundhog Day's origins trace back to the 18th century when German settlers in central Pennsylvania predicted the weather on Candlemas, a Feb. 2 Christian feast day, based on whether a groundhog sees his shadow or not.
-The Groundhog Day capital of the world is Punxsutawney, Penn., which is home to the planet's most famous weather-prognosticating groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil. Phil was featured in the Bill Murray movie.
-Phil's full name is "Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather Prophet Extraordinary."
-While "Groundhog Day" takes place in Punxsutawney, it was actually shot in Woodstock, Ill.
-Groundhog Day event organizers in Punxsutawney maintain that Phil has lived since he first started making predictions in 1887. That's not likely. The average lifespan of a groundhog is about eight years, so there have probably been around 14 Punxsutawney Phils over the years.
-However many Phils there have been, he hasn't been very accurate. The Stormfax weather almanac reports that his predictions have correct just 39 percent of the time.
-Punxsutawney Phil's Canadian counterpart is Wiarton Willie, who hails from Bruce County, Ontario.
-The most famous weather-predicting rodent in the tri-state area is probably Staten Island Chuck, whose full name is Charles C. Hogg. He resides in the Staten Island Zoo.