PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. — Despite the freezing temperature early in the morning of Feb. 2 and the new restrictions on gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Phil the groundhog emerged from his burrow on Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania only to be scared back into hibernation by his shadow. According to this over century-long tradition, if the groundhog sees his shadow it means 6 more weeks of winter weather and if he does not see the shadow there will be an early spring.
Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this year calling for another month and a half of winter, but this year’s ceremony was different than any other. There were no spectators, but it was still celebrated as a virtual event for everyone to enjoy if you were awake at sunrise. The only year the groundhog did not predict the weather was 1943 during World War II before we had zoom capabilities.
The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle, which consists of 15 members who care for Phil and uphold the tradition, were the only people present. Dressed in their black top hats and long coats, they spoke about the tradition as it lightly snowed during the event. The Inner Circle has shared before that the secret to the furry groundhog’s immortality is a special diet that they provide for him. According to legend, Punxsutawney Phil has been the same groundhog since 1887 and relies on his “elixir” for his youth.
There’s no need to worry too much about Phil’s prediction if you were hoping for an early start to spring because within the 135-year tradition the famous groundhog has seen his shadow 106 times but has an accuracy rate of roughly 40%. The groundhog’s Inner Circle will insist that the little oracle is always correct in his predictions, so if you believe the lore- prepare to bundle up for another 6 weeks!
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