Punxsutawney – The tradition continues this year with huge crowds in Punxsutawney where a groundhog has been predicting if we would get 6 weeks of winter or not every year for over a century.
At 14 degrees Punxsutawney Pennsylvania is filled with people watching the annual show that has gone on for decades. The event starts with an Annual Groundhog Banquet then the official Punxsutawney Groundhog Club inner circle puts on a show.
The belief that a hedgehog’s shadow was an indicator of more winter goes back to the time of the Roman Empire. This idea made it to North America as a German tradition borne by Pennsylvania’s earliest settlers, they write, but there was one problem: there are no hedgehogs in North America.
“They determined that the groundhog, resembling the European hedgehog, was a most intelligent and sensible animal and therefore decided that if the sun did appear on February 2nd, so wise an animal as the groundhog would see its shadow and hurry back into its underground home for another six weeks of winter,” it reads
Then in 1887, “the first legendary trek to Gobbler’s Knob” took place. Where’s Gobbler’s Knob, you might ask (if you haven’t seen Groundhog Day)? That’s where Punxsutawney Phil, probably the most famous groundhog in the world, has lived since then
The inner circle members are easy to spot because their uniform is a tux and top hat.
Surprisingly according to the circle, the forecast is not made pre the event, but when Phil emerges from his burrow on February 2nd he speaks to the Groundhog Club President and speaks to him giving the prediction right there on the spot, using ‘Groundhogese’
This year 2023 the Club has predicted a shadow, 6 more weeks of winter weather.