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by Amelia Johnson (8th)

Every year on February 2nd we await the prediction of the infamous Punxsutawney Phil,
to tell us if there will be an early spring, or six more weeks of winter.

The tradition is if he sees his shadow we are likely to have six more weeks of winter, and
he goes back into his hole. If Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t see his shadow there should be an early
spring, and he stays outside of his hole.

It started as a Christian holiday called Candlemas day when the people of Christian faith
took candles to church to be blessed. They believed doing that would bless them for the rest of

Another belief related to our present day groundhog tradition is when the Germans
believed that a badger, or hedgehog could predict the weather. The Germans had their version
of Candlemass called Badger Day.

When the Germans immigrated to America we didn’t have a badger, so they substituted
it for a groundhog.

The biggest celebration for the holiday is in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The first
traces of the event date back to 1887 when members of Elk Lodge went to confront the
groundhog on the weather predictions.

It developed into an annual ceremony and they named the groundhog after the town in
the 1960’s. It then developed into having men in suits with the top hats create the “Inner Circle”.
The “Inner Circle” is a group of men that plan the ceremony, and care for the famous
animal too.

There are many recreations all around the country, but the one in Punxsutawney is the
most famous.

It gained extra fame from the comedy movie, Groundhog Day! The movie stars Bill
Murray as Phil, a meteorologist who is sent to cover a story on Punxsutawney , but it is his fourth year on the story and he is frustrated. He continues to be in a loop of repeating the famous day of February 2nd. The movie also stars Andie McDowell as Rita, who is the new producer stuck with Phil in Punxsutawney due to a blizzard.

What do you think Punxsutawney Phil will predict this year? Six more weeks of winter or an early spring? I'm hoping for the latter.

Image Citation:

AP. “Punxatawney Phil.” TRIB Live, Total Media, 2019, Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.