Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, is about 300 miles west of Union County and is the home of Punxsutawney Phil. Phil was burrowed inside his heated simulated tree trunk this morning when he was rudely awakened and pulled out into the limelight where crowds had gathered to hear his prognostications about the future of local weather.
Groundhog Day is the midpoint between the Winter Solstice, December 21, and the Spring Equinox, March 21. Early Christians called this day Candlemas Day and people would light blessed candles in their windows to ward off the darkness of winter.
Fair weather on Groundhog Day, so that a groundhog could see its shadow, is a warning of a stormy second half of the winter.
Clymer H. Freas was the city editor of the Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper in 1887. He was inspired by a group of local hunters who held a groundhog hunt every year and created the story of Punxsatawney Phil being an official weather forecaster. If Phil sees his shadow, the story goes, he snuggles back into his burrow for six more weeks of winter, but if he doesn’t see his shadow he foretells an early spring.
So what does Phil say?
Punxsatawney Phil did indeed see his shadow today, so the groundhog’s prediction is 6 more weeks of winter! Don’t put away your shovels and scarves just yet!