PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA (Gray News) – Punxsutawney Phil has made his prognostication.
The world’s most famous groundhog, woke up and did not see his shadow.
That means an early spring is coming.
Phil made his prediction Saturday to thousands present at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, PA.
“All hail Groundhog supremacy. If I were you, I’d go out and start buying some swimsuits,” said a member of the Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle.
With much of the country recovering from wicked-cold temperatures, we did not need or want six more weeks of winter.
Even the residents of Hell – Hell, MI, that is – needed some relief.
Sadly, the animal had seen his shadow for the past two years. Still, there’s always hope – Phil predicted an early spring in 2016.
Alas, the accuracy of his predictions is below 40 percent.
But there’s more to Phil than meets the eye.
He met President Ronald Reagan in 1986, inspired the 1993 film starring Bill Murray and in 2001 took his act to the Big Apple, where the annual celebration was broadcast in Times Square on the Jumbotron.
Groundhog Day traces its roots back to the ancient Candlemas Day celebrated on Feb. 2, when Christians would take their candles to church to have them blessed. Worshipers believed the act would bless their household throughout the winter.
German settlers brought the tradition to the US. with an added twist.
If a hedgehog saw his shadow on Candlemas Day, there would be a “second winter” or six more weeks of bad weather, according to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, gatekeepers of all things groundhog.
With no native hedgehog species on this side of the pond, the settlers chose the groundhog, which also hibernates.
Groundhog Day first appeared in a Punxsutawney newspaper in 1886 and an official celebration took place the following year, according to the groundhog club.