Groundhog Day: Phil Sees His Shadow, Predicts Six More Weeks of Winter

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Another Groundhog Day is in the books!  Punxsutawney Phil has made his prediction.  “I clearly see a perfectly clear shadow of me, six more weeks of winter it shall be!”

See a full replay of all the festivities at Gobbler’s Knob on WNEP.com and WNEP’s Facebook Page.

Newswatch 16’s Ryan Leckey took a look at some of the fun surrounding the day.

Here’s a look at what you need to know about Groundhog Day, an American tradition that is meant to predict when spring will arrive.

February 2, 2017 – Groundhog Day.

Facts:

February 2 is Groundhog Day.

The groundhog wakes up from hibernation on February 2.

If the groundhog sees its shadow when it emerges from its burrow, there will be six more weeks of winter.

If it does not see its shadow, spring will arrive soon.

This tradition started in Europe as Candlemas Day. Germans who settled in Pennsylvania in the 1700s brought the custom to America.

Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil is the most well-known, but more than a dozen states celebrate with their own groundhogs, such as Georgia’s Gen. Beauregard Lee and Buckeye Chuck in Ohio.

Punxsutawney Phil – in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania:

His full name is “Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary.”

February 2, 1886 – The Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper proclaims this date as Pennsylvania’s first official Groundhog Day celebration.

Phil has correctly predicted the beginning of spring 100% of the time, according to his owners. However, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the groundhog shows “no predictive skill” for the last few years.

1986 – Phil travels to Washington, D.C. to meet with President Ronald Reagan.

1993 – Columbia Pictures releases the movie, “Groundhog Day,” starring Bill Murray. In the years following the release of the movie, crowds numbering as high as 30,000 have visited Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney.

1995 – Phil appears on the Oprah Winfrey show.

January 27, 2010 – The animal rights group PETA suggests using a robotic groundhog in place of Punxsutawney Phil.

February 2, 2010 – For the first time, fans are able to register for a text message alert of Phil’s prediction.

February 2, 2016Phil does not see his shadow, predicting an early spring.

7 comments

  • Givemeabreak

    I never understood this. If he sees his shadow it’s six more weeks of winter. To have a shadow would require sunlight, so shouldn’t that mean spring is coming if the sun is out. Common sense isn’t that common I guess.

    • Googleisyourfriend

      Ha! I always wondered the same thing. Supposedly if he see’s his shadow it “scares” him and he goes back into his burrow for 6 more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, the it’s “safe” and he comes out and it’s early spring. So here is where I speculate, for how they came up with that, given that’s it’s winter, many colder climates will not see a shadow and so early spring, cheer everyone up. In places where it’s usually sunny, likely they have a milder climate and who cares if it’s 6 more weeks of winter on the West coast or the South east? I have now given entirely too much thought to Groundhog’s Day.

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