Did the groundhog see his shadow today, February 2, 2020? No.
There will be an early spring.
Punxsutawney Phil, a groundhog that lives in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, was brought out before a crowd of thousands to determine if winter would end sooner or later this year. If the groundhog sees his shadow, it predicts six more weeks of winter; if not, it predicts an early spring.
The procession of the “Top Hats” began with recorded orchestra music. All the men gathered on stage and put down a red carpet, presumably for the groundhog. They began a speech about their 134th trek being the largest in the history of Groundhog Day. The Top Hats began to spell Punxsutawney for the crowd and taught them the secret inner circle sign: “live long like Phil.”
As snow began to softly fall on the crowd and the Top Hats said their thank yous to all the people who helped make this event possible, the Inner Circle introduced themselves to the crowd.
One Top Hat told the crowd to “do a selfie” before he informed them about the two scrolls he had to denote winter or spring. Then the president of the Top Hats brought out a cane that all presidents used to be able to speak in “Groundhogese” in order to understand what the groundhog says.
They started to chant to wake Phil up. They tapped the door three times, and then the Top Hats grabbed Phil out of his hole and set him on the red carpet. They had some trouble dragging the creature from his hole, and the hot mics picked up a fair amount of scuffling before they held the creature aloft and the crowd in Punxsutawney began cheering and chanting “Phil.”
Then, they got down to serious business. They put the animal down, and he chewed on something but did nothing else on top of a giant stump. Then his handler, John Griffiths, picked him up and stroked him. At this point, he made his prediction.
The groundhog did not see his shadow, and there will be an early spring.
The prediction happened at about 7:20 a.m. this year on February 2, 2020, but groundhog enthusiasts at Gobbler’s Knob have been participating in festivities since 3:00 a.m. with singing, dancing and fireworks.
Phil Has Been Predicting Spring For More Than 130 Years
Punxsutawney Phil, who drinks a magic, life-extending serum, has been forecasting the weather for centuries, according to Lancaster Online.
The Inner Circle of the Groundhog Club are the only people who are capable of speaking to Punxsutawney Phil using “Groundhogese,” Lancaster Online reported.
According to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, “thousands of visitors attend the annual trek to see Punxsutawney Phil reveal his forecast at Gobbler’s Knob.” People have been celebrating Groundhog Day since 1886, the first year the event was ever recorded in the local newspaper.
Germans brought this tradition to the United States because they believed that if a hedgehog saw its shadow on February 2, it meant there were six more weeks of winter. The Germans did not find many hedgehogs in the new world, according to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, and had to swap in a groundhog for the event. This is how Punxsutawney Phil became a significant part of American folklore.
Groundhog Day is erroneously reported by numerous sources to be tied to Christianity. Although it coincides with the Christian holiday of Candlemas, marking the presentation of Jesus Christ to the Temple, the two are unrelated. The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club says Groundhog Day does not represent any “traditional belief” held by Christian denominations that animals are able to forecast the weather.
PETA Takes Aim At Groundhog Day Tradition
Groundhog Day has come under fire this year by PETA. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a “large animal rights organization,” wrote a letter “urging the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club to retire Phil and another Punxsutawney groundhog to a reputable sanctuary and start using a cutting-edge animatronic groundhog that could actually predict the weather [emphasis PETA’s own] using artificial intelligence.”
“Gentle, vulnerable groundhogs are not barometers,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman in a press release. “PETA is offering the club a win-win situation: Breathe life into a tired tradition and finally do right by a long suffering animal.”
Punxsutawney Phil is “kept in a plexiglass box at the local library,” according to PETA.
The Inner Circle responded to PETA on Punxsutawney Phil’s Facebook page. “He lives better than the average child in Western Pennsylvania,” says the Inner Circle to The Punxsutawney Spirit.
READ NEXT: Read more about Groundhog Day