Will we have six more weeks of winter or an early spring? All eyes were on Punxsutawney Phil Thursday morning for Groundhog Day!
In case you forgot, if the groundhog sees its shadow, it means we’re in for six more weeks of winter. No shadow means we’ll have an early spring. If you’re wondering, Punxsutawney Phil’s accuracy is between 36%-39%.
On Thursday, Feb. 2, Punxsutawney Phil was “awakened from his winter nap” at dawn to determine what our weather will look like in the coming months.
Drum roll please ... Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow! So we’re in for six more weeks of winter, according to the groundhog.
Phil also saw his shadow last year -- bad luck for those sick of the cold weather.
Here’s a look at the history of the holiday from the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club (the OGs):
The Christian religious holiday of Candlemas Day has become most commonly associated with the current celebration, but it’s roots are older than that. The celebration started in Christianity as the day, (February 2nd), when Christians would take their candles to the church to have them blessed. This, they felt, would bring blessings to their household for the remaining winter.
As time rolled on the day evolved into another form. The following English folk song highlights the transition to weather prognostication.
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.
This “interpretation” of Candlemas Day became the norm for most of Europe. As you can read, there is no mention of an animal of any kind in the preceding song. It wasn’t until this traditional belief was introduced to Germany that an animal was introduced into the lore, hence another evolution of February 2nd. If, according to German lore, the hedgehog saw his shadow on Candlemas Day there would be a “Second Winter” or 6 more weeks of bad weather. As German settlers came to what is now the United States, so too came their traditions and folklore. With the absence of hedgehogs in the United States, a similar hibernating animal was chosen. This leads us to yet another evolution in the legend and to present day Punxsutawney.