Punxsutawney Phil Predicts an Early Spring

Muriel Hammond
February 3, 2019

The best known of these is Buckeye Chuck, Ohio's official weather-predicting groundhog.

It may be hard to believe as a large swath of the USA thaws out from a bitter polar vortex, but spring is coming early, according to handlers for some of the country's most famous prognosticating groundhogs. Read on to discover the origins of Groundhog Day.

Here's some news to melt away the winter blues: New York's soothsaying rodent, Staten Island Chuck, predicted an early start to spring Saturday morning at the annual Groundhog Day event.

The story of the holiday tradition declares that if the groundhog emerges early on the morning of February 2 and sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather.

If he would have saw his shadow, winter would last for another six weeks.

The immigrants' Candlemas tradition traces back as far as the early 1700s when they began arriving in Pennsylvania. On that day, superstition held that if it were sunny and clear, a long winter was expected. For centuries, the custom was to have the clergy bless candles and distribute them to the people.

Punxsutawney Phil is the legendary furry forecaster who predicts the weather, relaying his answer to the Groundhog Club President. Since hedgehogs aren't native to the United States, another hibernating animal was chosen in their stead: the groundhog.

In Punxsutawney, 1886 marked the first time that Groundhog Day appeared in the local newspaper.

Other towns have their own groundhog mascots as well, including Birmingham Bill in Alabama and Staten Island Chuck in NY.

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