Groundhog Day falls right in the middle of the winter solstice and the spring equinox. On this day, Thursday Feb. 2, 2017, notable groundhog Punxsutawney Phil will give us his prediction on whether we’ll have to slog it out for another six weeks of winter or whether we can look forward to an early spring.
The first Groundhog Day was February 2, 1887. The legend dates to early German settlers in Pennsylvania, who had a tradition that if the sun shone on Candlemas Day -celebrated on Feb. 2 in recognition of Christ’s presentation at the Temple – the snow would swirl in May. The early settlers adopted groundhogs, which were plentiful in the area, as harbingers of the tale.
Punxsutawney Phil is America’s most famous groundhog. He’s also the first and official forecasting critter. If Phil comes out of his little burrow and sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, then it’s time for spring!
Each year, Phil will relay his prediction to the head of the Inner Circle, the group of men in charge of feeding and taking care of Phil — they’re the guys with the big top hats. The president will then announce it to everyone gathered.
The Groundhog Club’s records show that Phil saw his shadow 102 times and saw no shadow 18 times between 1887 and 2016.
As for whether he’s been right or wrong — that depends on where you live. Weather varies by location. The Washington Post actually studied his findings compared to temperatures across the country between 1984 and 2014, and likened his being right to a coin toss. It’s all just chance.
There are other weather-predicting animals around the country. Chattanooga, Tennessee has “Chattanooga Chuck,” Dunkirk, New York has “Dunkirk Dave,” and Asheville, North Carolina has “Nibbles.” Lousy meteorologist or not, at least he’s cute, right?
Watch the event live starting tomorrow at 6:00am http://www.visitpa.com/groundhog-day-live-stream/