7 facts about Groundhog Day

So where does the tradition come from? According to TechTimes, the tradition of Groundhog Day was brought over by German immigrants in the 1700s and has its roots in Candlemas, a holiday celebrated 40 days after Christmas commemorating the presentation of Jesus at the temple. It wasn’t until the 1840s that German immigrants in Pennsylvania started associating the day with the German tradition of using animals to predict the weather. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Groundhog Club handler John Griffiths holds Punxsutawney Phil, the weather predicting groundhog, during the annual celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa., Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. Phil's handlers said that the groundhog has forecast Winter has ended. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
A rodent by any other name… Groundhogs are also known as whistle pigs or woodchucks. The name whistle pig comes from their ability to let out high-pitched whistles, according to National Geographic. But do they chuck wood? The origin of that name is possibly rooted in a word from a Native American language, likely from the Algonquian term for the animal: wuchak.  (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
In this photo taken on Saturday, April, 4, 2015  a bear walks next to an artificial pond at a shelter that attracts hundreds of visitors and volunteers from around the world every year, in Kutarevo, Croatia. Over a decade ago, Ivan Crnkovic-Pavenka, a retired Croatian social worker decided to help bears become "ambassadors of the wilderness" among people and set up a unique shelter for brown bears in the idyllic mountain village of Kutarevo in central Croatia, where eight bears currently live in two huge enclosures.(AP Photo/Amel Emric)
It wasn’t always a groundhog. The Europeans originally used badgers or sometimes bears as their weather forecasters, as both animals hibernate and wake up when the days become longer and the sun’s angle becomes higher, according to TechTimes.  (AP Photo/Amel Emric)
What’s in a name? Punxsutawney Phil may be a bit of a mouthful, but that’s not even his full name: Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators.  (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
(Thinkstock)
Everybody loves Phil? Well, not exactly. Groundhogs are big nuisances to farmers, raiding fresh crop growth and creating unstable ground with their extensive borrows. It wasn’t until 1887 that groundhog Phil brought fame to his little town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, thanks to the efforts of the town’s newspaper editor Clymer H. Freas, who had declared Phil “America’s official forecasting groundhog,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (Thinkstock)
How is it known if he sees his shadow? When Phil comes out of his temperature-controlled, man-made burrow on Gobbler’s Knob on Groundhog Day, he reveals his forecast to the president of the Inner Circle of the Groundhog Club. According to the Associated Press, the Inner Circle’s president then announces Phil’s prediction.  (AP Photo/The Star, Christopher Mertes)
AP: 0d738542-b6e5-4c1f-bba0-57019ae564fb
How accurate is the shadow? According to Groundhog Club, Punxsutawney Phil has predicted 103 forecasts of long winter and 19 early springs, with nine years of no prediction. According to LiveScience, Phil’s six-week predictions have been correct 39 percent of the time. See a snapshot of his predictive power. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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Groundhog Club handler John Griffiths holds Punxsutawney Phil, the weather predicting groundhog, during the annual celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa., Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. Phil's handlers said that the groundhog has forecast Winter has ended. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
In this photo taken on Saturday, April, 4, 2015  a bear walks next to an artificial pond at a shelter that attracts hundreds of visitors and volunteers from around the world every year, in Kutarevo, Croatia. Over a decade ago, Ivan Crnkovic-Pavenka, a retired Croatian social worker decided to help bears become "ambassadors of the wilderness" among people and set up a unique shelter for brown bears in the idyllic mountain village of Kutarevo in central Croatia, where eight bears currently live in two huge enclosures.(AP Photo/Amel Emric)
(Thinkstock)
AP: 0d738542-b6e5-4c1f-bba0-57019ae564fb

Editor’s Note: This story was first published Feb. 1, 2017. 

WASHINGTON — It’s not an official holiday, but every Feb. 2, Americans celebrate Groundhog Day and eagerly wait to know whether the furry animal forecasts an early spring or another six weeks of cold winter weather.

Everyone knows the story: If the groundhog comes out of his burrow at sunrise and sees his shadow, winter will be around for another six weeks. However, if the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow, spring will arrive early.

But here are some things you may not have known about Groundhog Day.

If you can’t make it to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to see the forecast in person, watch the live stream of the event here.

Need to fact check Phil by seeing what other forecasting groundhogs predicted? Check out a live stream of Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam, or look out for predictions from Georgia’s General Beauregard Lee, Staten Island Chuck, Wisconsin’s Jimmy the Groundhog, North Carolina’s Sir Walter Wally, and D.C.’s very own stuffed groundhog Potomac Phil.

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