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Groundhog Day is a lighthearted American tradition that’s one of the most recognizable less-serious holidays we have. The groundhog that supposedly predicts the weather for the first part of each year is Punxsutawney Phil, so what did he say on this year’s Groundhog Day last week? Read on below to find out.
How does Groundhog Day work?
Groundhog Day is a quirky holiday celebrated on February 2nd each year. On Groundhog Day, Pennsylvania Dutch superstition believes that if a groundhog emerges from its burrow, sees its shadow, and retreats, there will be six more weeks of winter. If the groundhog doesn’t see its shadow due to clouds in the sky, the forecast is that spring will come on time. The town of Punxsutawney performs the most widely known Groundhog Day celebration each year.
Where did the tradition of Groundhog Day come from?
While Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil is the most recognizable face of Groundhog Day, this tradition didn’t originate in Punxsutawney or even in the United States. The tradition actually dates back to pre-American Europe, where in some German-speaking areas, it was believed that the appearance of a badger could predict whether spring would start on time or not.
Immigrants to the United States brought the tradition to Pennsylvania Dutch country, where over time the forecasting animal became a groundhog. The Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney popularized this tradition with a groundhog known as Punxsutawney Phil, who first “predicted” the spring weather in 1886.
What did Punxsutawney Phil say this year?
As for the next six weeks of 2023, Punxsutawney Phil has officially predicted that winter is here to stay. Phil came out of his hole, saw his shadow, and retreated back in, so it looks like we’re due for some more cold weather this year.
Was Punxsutawney Phil right last year?
Last February, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and retreated back into his hole, predicting six more weeks of winter. February 2022 was a colder-than-average month, so it seems Punxsutawney Phil was right!
Phil’s predictions don’t always work out so well, however. It’s been estimated that over the last 15 years, Punxsutawney Phil’s predictions have been right about 40% of the time – not exactly stellar results for a prediction you have a 50/50 chance of getting right. You might not want to plan your spring break trip based on Phil’s predictions, but it’s still a fun holiday.
Has Punxsutawney Phil always been the same groundhog?
According to the lighthearted Groundhog Day tradition, the Punxsutawney Phil we saw last week is the same groundhog that’s been used for the ceremony since 1886. While this is a fun and harmless suspension of disbelief, the average lifespan of a groundhog in the wild is between three and six years, and only reaches up to an average of 12 years or so for groundhogs in captivity.
In reality, the Phil we saw this year could be the tenth one of the same name, or maybe the “elixir of life” he’s fed every summer is paying off.