Punxsutawney Phil has predicted an early spring.
The groundhog emerged from his burrow Saturday on Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Penn., and did not see his shadow, which according to legend means spring is near. If he had seen his shadow, six more
weeks of winter would have followed.
Saturday marked the groundhog’s 127th prediction. Last year, Phil predicted six more weeks of winter, but National Climatic Data Center research showed the first 11 months of 2012 were the eighth warmest January–November on record.
Every year, Phil is presented to the crowd by a group of men in tuxedos and top hats. These men are the Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle, and Groundhog.com said they’re a group of local dignitaries responsible for carrying on the Groundhog Day tradition. They also feed and take care of Phil.
The first official Groundhog Day at Gobbler’s Knob occurred in 1887, and in the past the event has seen up to 35,000 people gathered to hear Phil’s prediction. The groundhog has seen his shadow 100 times, and including this year has not seen it 17 times. Ten of the 127 years have no record.
Groundhog day began with Pennsylvania’s earliest settlers, Groundhog.org said. The settlers brought with them the legend of Candlemas Day, which is, “For as long as the sun shines on Candlemas Day, so will the snow swirl in May,” which coincides with today’s tradition that if the groundhog sees his shadow on a sunny day, winter will continue for six more weeks.
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