In a ceremony watched by thousands, America’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, predicted an early spring on Saturday, Feb 2, as he didn’t see his shadow at the sunrise.
Punxsutawney Phil appeared from his burrow in Pennsylvania on Groundhog Day just before 7.30 a.m. and didn’t see his shadow—an indication of early spring.
Groundhog Day ceremonies were watched by thousands who were chanting Phil’s name so that he would come out of his hole and make the predictions, according to the videos shared by Groundhog.org on its social media.
A German Legend says that on Feb. 2 if the rodent retreats into its burrow on seeing its shadow, it indicates that winter will continue. But if the sky is overcast and it doesn’t get to see its shadow, this predicts an early spring.
Feb. 2 was originally celebrated by Christians as the Candlemas when Christians would take all their candles to church to be blessed for use in the coming year. When this festival got to Germany, a groundhog got introduced into it.
According to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club that started in 1887, the first Groundhog Day appeared in a local newspaper in 1886.
Gobbler’s Knob is a small hill outside Punxsutawney. The inner circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club is responsible for carrying on the tradition of Groundhog Day and also for taking care of Punxsutawney Phil!
Three hundred miles away on Staten Island a similar series of events unfolded where Chuck’s handlers also predicted an early spring. Chuck is another famous groundhog.
Phil’s predictions are not made on the Groundhog Day, they are made before Feb. 2 by the inner circle. Last year Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and predicted a prolonged winter.
Other Famous GroundhogsOther groundhogs that would be predicting this Saturday are:
Staten Island Chuck: Chuck was earlier known as Charles G. Hogg. This groundhog lives in New York’s Staten Island Zoo and was in the news for reasons other than the Feb. 2 predictions. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio dropped Chuck in a Groundhog Day ceremony in 2014. That year Chuck was actually secretly replaced by his granddaughter, Charlotte.
De Blasio has not attended another Staten Island Groundhog Day ceremony since then. The Groundhog Day ceremony had made headlines earlier when former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was bitten by the groundhog during the ceremony in 2009.