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Punxsutawney Phil officially makes his 2024 prediction

News
Article

The famous groundhog declared whether there would be 6 more weeks of winter or an earlier spring during the annual Groundhog Day celebrations

karenfoleyphoto/stock.adobe.com

karenfoleyphoto/stock.adobe.com

In a small town in Western Pennsylvania, thousands gathered to wait for the famous Punxsutawney Phil to make his yearly prediction for the upcoming months: whether there will be an early spring or 6 more weeks of winter. Phil emerged from his custom-built burrow and let the world know he is predicting an early spring.

The tradition is believed to stem from Candlemas, an early Christian holiday where candles were blessed and then distributed. Those participating in the holiday eventually declared that if there were clear skies on Candlemas, it meant they would experience a longer winter.1 This tradition was brought by the Roman legions during the conquest of the northern country but added that if the sun made an appearance on this holiday, a hedgehog would cast a shadow and predict 6 more weeks of bad weather, or a second winter. The tradition was later brought to the United States when German immigrants moved to Pennsylvania.1

Once the German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania, they discovered groundhogs in multiple locations in the state. They then decided the groundhog resembled the hedgehog and decided it would decide whether the sun would appear on February 2nd.2

In the present day, Phil is cared for by the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club Inner Circle (Inner Circle), which was created in the 1880s and made up of 15 members. Each member is tasked with protecting and preserving his legend as well as caring for and feeding him. The Inner Circle, dressed in tuxedos and top hats, begins the events on Groundhog Day at 7:20 AM EST and then brings Phil out of his burrow to make his prediction to the world.3

Phil has been predicting the end of winter forecast since 1886, where he correctly predicted 6 more weeks of winter for some regions but came up short regarding others. According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, within the last 10 years, Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction has been right 30% of the time.2

“No shadow appeared this morning and Punxsutawney Phil indicated that all signs point to an early spring,” said Rick Siger, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, in an organizational release.4 “We’re excited to share this news with the tens of thousands who make the trek to Gobbler’s Knob each year and to the millions more who await Phil’s prediction from around the globe. The Groundhog Day festivities are an excellent example of the Shapiro Administration’s commitment to boosting the tourism industry, which creates good jobs, strengthens businesses, and attracts more people to call our Commonwealth home.”

This year, over 30,000 spectators attended the celebration and to see Phil call for an early spring, the 21st time he has not seen his shadow in the history of the tradition.4

References

  1. Celebrating Groundhog Day 2024. Visit PA. Accessed February 2, 2024. https://www.visitpa.com/article/celebrating-groundhog-day-2024
  2. History of Groundhog Day. Visit PA. Accessed February 2, 2024. https://www.visitpa.com/article/history-groundhog-day
  3. Inner circle. The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. Accessed February 2, 2024. https://www.groundhog.org/inner-circle
  4. Punxsutawney Phil predicts an early Spring in 2024. Visit PA. February 2, 2024. Accessed February 2, 2024. https://www.visitpa.com/press-release/punxsutawney-phil-predicts-early-spring-2024
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