Happy Groundhog Day! Today is the day we learn whether 2022 will be the year for an early spring, or if we’re in for six more weeks of winter, according to tradition. Punxsutawney Phil, the famous and furry weather oracle, is ready for his time in the spotlight today, February 2.
The world’s most famous groundhog hails from a small town in western Pennsylvania. Every year he ventures out of his borrow with the eyes of the world upon him on February 2. As the tradition goes, if Phil sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, spring is just around the corner.
Here’s what you need to know:
Phil’s Festivities Begin at 6 a.m. on Groundhog Day & There Are Several Ways to Watch Online for Free
Punxsutawney Phil will mosey out of his burrow around 7:20 a.m. Eastern time and make his weather prediction, according to Visit PA.
Their coverage begins at 7:15 a.m. from Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. But the festivities have been ongoing for days as the world turns to its furry forecaster.
Events started Sunday, January 30, with Lunch With Phil, kicking off the Groundhog Day celebration, according to The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.
“Not only is there delicious food but the guest of honor Punxsutawney Phil is there!” the website says.
Festivities continue with the Inner Circle Groundhog Ball and the Party All Night event. Groundhog Day will involve events throughout the day including Gobbler’s Knob Got Talent, The Dueling Pianos and Hogspitality Village.
The Tradition Started With Candles & Evolved to Hedgehogs, Then Groundhogs
The Groundhog Day tradition has its roots with another object better known for lights and shadows – a candle. The origins of Groundhog Day lie in Candlemas Day, a Christian tradition that was celebrated in Europe on February 2, according to The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.
The lyrics of an English folk song immortalized the tradition:
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.
“This ‘interpretation’ of Candlemas Day became the norm for most of Europe,” the website says. “As you can read, there is no mention of an animal of any kind in the preceding song. It wasn’t until this traditional belief was introduced to Germany that an animal was introduced into the lore, hence another evolution of February 2nd. If, according to German lore, the hedgehog saw his shadow on Candlemas Day there would be a ‘Second Winter’ or 6 more weeks of bad weather. As German settlers came to what is now the United States, so too came their traditions and folklore. With the absence of hedgehogs in the United States, a similar hibernating animal was chosen. This leads us to yet another evolution in the legend and to present day Punxsutawney.”
Groundhog Day has been an American tradition for more than 130 years, the website says. The first mention of Groundhog Day appeared in the local newspaper in 1886. Every year since 1987, people from around the world have been venturing to Gobbler’s Knob to find out whether Punxsutawney Phil would see his shadow.