Here we go again, it’s Groundhog Day.
Prognosticating rodents like Pennsylvania’s famous Punxsutawney Phil and New York City’s own Staten Island Chuck will return Wednesday to give their annual forecasts on whether winter will last for six more weeks or spring will arrive early.
Spectators in the Keystone State will be able to gather again at Gobbler’s Knob to anxiously await their fate, after being kept away due to COVID-19 last year.
The Big Apple’s event, however, will remain virtual for another year.
Here’s everything you need to know about Groundhog Day and how to watch Wednesday’s festivities:
How did Groundhog Day originate?
The annual ritual in western Pennsylvania dates back to 1887. The holiday grew out of traditions tied to the Christian holiday of Candlemas in Europe, PennLive.com reported.
Tradition at the time declared that if Feb. 2 was clear and sunny, Old Man Winter would stick around for a few weeks. An overcast or rainy day, on the other hand, signaled an early end to the cold season.
German immigrants took the lore to Pennsylvania from Europe, where people looked at badgers or hedgehogs to spot their shadows, marking sunny conditions. The tradition eventually shifted to groundhogs, the website reported.
Where does the Groundhog Day prediction take place and how can I watch?
Phil will make his call by 7:20 a.m. at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney in western Pennsylvania. Coverage of the “full-tilt celebration” is set to begin on PCNTV at 6 a.m. A livestream will also start at 6 a.m. at VisitPa.com.
“Will it be six more weeks of winter or an early spring?” the website reads. “There is only one groundhog who holds the answer – Punxsutawney Phil!”
In New York, the Staten Island Zoo will livestream its event on its Facebook page starting at 7:20 a.m., when Chuck will appear with a “very special honorary guest,” organizers said. Spectators won’t be allowed, however, due to ongoing pandemic concerns.
Which groundhog is more accurate?
Staten Island Chuck, also known as Charles G. Hogg, has historically been more accurate than his Pennsylvania counterpart, according to the Staten Island Advance.
Last February, Chuck’s early spring prediction was correct. Prior to last year, the rodent correctly predicted 10 out of 11 years — with the lone wrong call coming in 2017, according to the Staten Island Advance.
Chuck has an overall accuracy rate of 80 percent, the newspaper reported.
Phil, meanwhile, has an overall accuracy rate between 35 percent and 41 percent depending on the data source. In the last 10 years, however, the rate stood at 50 percent, according to the Staten Island Advance.
Where else are Groundhog Day celebrations held?
While Phil and Chuck are the most visible and most popular groundhog meteorologists, other events are held throughout the US and in Canada to mark the holiday.
A groundhog in Canada named Balzac Billy makes his annual prediction in Balzac, Alberta, by either donning sunglasses or not, the Staten Island Advance reported.
Sir Walter Willy — a groundhog with an accuracy rate of 55 percent, beating out Phil – also makes a Feb. 2 prediction in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Other cities like Marion, Ohio, and Portland, Oregon, also have celebrations, employing the services of Buckeye Chuck and Fufu the Hedgehog, respectively.