Punxsutawney, PA – At 7:25 a.m. today (Feb 2) the famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his burrow at Gobbler’s Knob to determine whether winter would stay for six more weeks.
According to the Groundhog Day website, Phil led the Club President to his prediction scroll which read: “At Gobbler’s Knob on Groundhog Day, We celebrate a world-wide Holiday. It’s mighty cold weather, you’ve been braving, Is it more winter or is it spring that you’re craving? Since you’ve been up all night and starting to tottle I, Punxsutawney Phil, shall not dawdle. My faithful followers, I could clearly see A beautiful, perfect shadow of me. Six more Weeks of Winter, it shall be!”
He ultimately predicated six more weeks of winter after seeing his shadow.
In it’s 131st year of tradition, Groundhog Day has become an overwhelmingly popular event today, drawing in crowds by the tens of thousands.
The first official trek to Gobbler’s Knob was made on February 2, 1886.
131 years later, the traditional Groundhog Day has evolved little from its historical roots.
The celebration of Groundhog Day began with the Germans, Pennsylvania’s earliest settlers who brought with them the legend of “Candlemas Day.”
With the same ideology as Groundhog Day, Candlemas Day states, “For as the sun shines on Candlemas day, so far will the snow swirl in May…”
Originally, Candlemas Day followed the belief that if the sun appeared on February 2, a hedgehog would show it’s shadow, indicating another six weeks of winter, the length they considered to be the “Second Winter.”
The German settlers in Pennsylvania instead found that groundhogs were plentiful and were the most intelligent and sensible animal to carry on the legend of Candlemas Day, rather than the hedgehog.
Since it’s beginning in America, Groundhog Day has picked up popularity to bring in crowds as large as 30,000 people to watch Phil make his appearance. Punxsutawney Phil has met President Reagan in Washington D.C., met Pennsylvania governor Dick Thornburg in 1987, appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1995, and in 1993 Columbia Pictures even released a movie based on the historic day, Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray.
Phil’s prediction seems to hold true so far for Oswego County, with a lake effect snow warning in effect from 1 p.m. February 2 until 7 p.m. February 4 and school closings and delays throughout the county.