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Groundhog Makes Annual Prediction

Find out what Punxsutawney Phil says about this spring.

Punxsutawney Phil predicts that there will be an early spring. He did not see his shadow.

This is the day we ignore our trained weather men and women and put our faith in the prognosticating power of a groundhog, or at least the people interpreting the rodents intentions.

According to the myth, if a groundhog sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter; if he does not, spring is right around the corner.

Groundhog Day is celebrated every year on Feb. 2. On this day, a groundhog comes out of its burrow and checks for his shadow to determine how soon spring will arrive.

Groundhog Day as we know it in the U.S. started because the Pennsylvania Dutch farmers wanted to know if spring was coming early or not. That information helped them decide when they should plant seeds and half their hay.

Europeans used hedgehogs as the animal that determined the season change but Pennsylvania Dutch farmers chose the groundhog because they were found in greater numbers in North America. Groundhog Day stemmed from the ancient traditions of Candlemas, a holiday that originated in early Christian Europe that was celebrated by the Germans.

In central Pennsylvania, there are a number of lodges that prognosticate the season with live and formerly live groundhogs. In Quarryville, Lancaster County, the Slumbering Groundhog Lodge predicts the season with the help of Octoraro Orphie, a stuffed groundhog.

There are other groundhog lodges, but the most well-known is in Punxsutawney, where the town holds celebrations as they wait for Punxsutawney Phil, the native groundhog resident of the town, to come out of his burrow and check for his shadow. The activity around this famous groundhog was also the backdrop for the 1993 movie Groundhog Day.

Do you agree with Punxsatawney Phil’s prediction?

Mildred Roberts February 02, 2013 at 07:35 PM
His accuracy is 39%. Any lower and he'll be among the 7.9%.
Edward Tobin February 02, 2013 at 09:58 PM
Even at 39%, he's still got a better rating than Congress :)

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