Groundhog Day: Punxsutawney Phil reveals prediction

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Groundhog Day: Punxsutawney Phil reveals prediction

Don’t put away your cold-weather gear just yet – Punxsutawney Phil just predicted six more weeks of winter.

The famous prognosticating rodent picked the shadow scroll early Wednesday during the annual Groundhog Day ceremony at Gobbler’s Knob in western Pennsylvania, signaling that Old Man Winter isn’t clearing out anytime soon.

Phil’s loyal fans returned to the rural site after pandemic concerns forced organizers to livestream the annual event last year – during which he called for six more weeks of Old Man Winter.

The annual ritual in Pennsylvania dates back to 1887, according to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. The tradition grew out of the Feb. 2 holiday of Candlemas in Europe, where Christians would take candles to a church to have them blessed.

Punxsutawney Phil
Fans of Punxsutawney Phil were able to see him in person this year after COVID forced the event to be livestreamed the year before.
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Punxsutawney Phil seen with the committee before making his prediction.
Punxsutawney Phil seen with the committee before making his prediction.
The famous groundhog predicted six more weeks of winter.
The famous groundhog predicted six more weeks of winter.

A popular English folk song declared that winter will have “another flight” if conditions on Candlemas were fair and bright.

That interpretation ultimately became accepted throughout most of Europe until it reached Germany, where a hedgehog became part of the tradition and a “second winter” would be expected if it saw its shadow on Candlemas.

“As German settlers came to what is now the United States, so too came their traditions and folklore,” Punxsutawney organizers said on its website. “With the absence of hedgehogs in the United States, a similar hibernating animal was chosen.”

The committee looks on as Phil makes his prediction.
The committee looks on as Phil makes his prediction.
Punxsutawney Phil
According to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, the Groundhog Day tradition dates back to 1887 in the US and evolved from the European holiday of Candlemas.
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An official reads the prediction scroll during the ceremony.
An official reads the prediction scroll during the ceremony.

A mention of Groundhog Day first appeared in a local Punxsutawney newspaper in 1886. The following year marked the first official event at Gobbler’s Knob, organizers said.

“Today, Groundhog Day remains what it was when the tradition first came to our shores and found its way to Punxsutawney,” the website reads. “A day to take everything a little less seriously, and break up the winter monotony … at least for a little while!”

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