As tradition goes, the legend is that if the groundhog sees his shadow, he returns to his hole for 6 more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, he takes it as the first sign of spring and stays above ground. So, what did Phil predict this year?
Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Groundhog Day 2021, which means 6 more weeks of winter!
After bringing Phil to the stage, a scroll was read presenting the groundhog’s prediction. It read: “It’s a beautiful morning, this I can see, with all of my fans viewing virtually. My faithful followers being safe and secure, our tradition of Groundhog Day must endure. We have all passed through the darkness of night, but now see hope in morning’s bright light. But now, when I turn to see, there’s a perfect shadow cast of me. Six more weeks of winter there will be.”
The Groundhog Day Ceremony Was Held Virtually This Year
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in-person celebrations for Groundhog Day were canceled and replaced by a virtual ceremony for the groundhog to observe his shadow in front of a nationwide audience, watching from the safety of their homes.
Groundhog Day festivities are usually celebrated in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, and the lighthearted holiday is a big tourist draw for the town.
Though the Groundhog.org website does not seem to be up-to-date, they did allude to the possibility of the in-person element of Groundhog Day being canceled due to COVID-19. The website’s event page reads, “The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club is currently planning for Groundhog Day 2021. With COVID-19, we are unsure what the celebration will look like. But- Phil will be making his annual prediction on February 2nd 2021.”
The hour-long ceremony, which kicked off at 6:30 am ET, can be watched in full below:
Groundhog Day Began in Punxsutawney in 1886
Groundhog Day is a long tradition; it was first recognized in US newspapers back in 1886, but originated in Europe.
According to Groundhogday.org, the holiday began as a religious observance. The website explains, “The Christian religious holiday of Candlemas Day has become most commonly associated with the current celebration, but its roots are older than that. The celebration started in Christianity as the day, (February 2nd), when Christians would take their candles to the church to have them blessed. This, they felt, would bring blessings to their household for the remaining winter.” The holiday later became a way to predict the weather and the transition of seasons.
The website also claims that there has only ever been one Punxsutawney Phil, and that the groundhog we see making predictions today is the same one who made the first prediction in 1886. How can that be? The website’s Q&A sweetly asserts, “Punxsutawney Phil gets his longevity from drinking the “elixir of life,” a secret recipe. Phil takes one sip every summer at the Groundhog Picnic and it magically gives him seven more years of life.”