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Punxsutawney Phil Saw His Shadow Today

Six more weeks of winter, and the story of how it all started

Given the winter so far, six more weeks doesn't sound like a terrible punishment.  Here is how the whole thing started.

A long time ago, Groundhog Day and similar legends began as beliefs of Europeans, however its origins are lost in time. The day originated from the Germans, Scotts and early Christian Europeans. Today, it is celebrated every year on February 2.

On this day, a groundhog comes out of its burrow and checks for his shadow. If he doesn’t see his shadow, spring will come early by six weeks. If he does see his shadow, it is six more weeks of winter for Connecticut.

Groundhog Day as we know it started because the Pennsylvanian Dutch farmers wanted to know if spring was coming early or not. That information helped them determine when they should plant seeds and half their hay. Europeans used hedgehogs as the animal that determined the season change but Pennsylvanian Dutch farmers chose the groundhog because they were found in greater numbers in North America than in Europe.  Groundhog Day stemmed from the ancient beliefs of Candlemas, a holiday that originated in early Christian Europe that was celebrated by the Germans.

In Central Pennsylvania, the people of Punxsutawney, PA hold celebrations as they wait for Punxsutawney Phil, the native groundhog resident of the town, to come out of his burrow and check for his shadow

In the 20th century, Groundhog Day and Punxsutawney Phil changed from being known only locally to gaining international renown. Phil and the town of Punxsutawney were shown in the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day,” where Phil was a star. He appeared at many international and political events including prohibition. During Prohibition, Phil threatened to have 60 weeks of winter imposed on Punxsutawney if he did not get a drink. Due to the popularity of Punxsutawney Phil, the town had an increase in tourism that brought thousands of people to town every year because they want to see Phil and hear his predictions on the seasons.

bayway mike February 02, 2012 at 09:53 PM
I don't get it!! He seen his shadow on a cloudy morning?? Now watch the mad dash for snow shovels at your local hardware store!! We are still going to use last years shovels..Hey, BlueClaws home opener is only 70 days away!!
Laci February 03, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Must of seen his shadow because of all the flash from the cameras.The forsythia bush in my yard is starting to bloom already and I'm hoping to start the lawn mower before the snowthrower. On a different note, any Toms River residents receive a robocall today regarding the upcoming fire election on Saturday February 18th. Something about the 10 million dollar budget and residents would have to request an absentee ballot from the Ocean County Board of Elections in order to received the details, as ballots are not being sent out to the general voters.
KAREN A KINCAID February 03, 2012 at 12:06 PM
gotta love that Phil's face anyway!! the weather is what it is..... who can't resist such a cute little thing making an apperance!!
Maryann Campling February 02, 2013 at 05:58 PM
Maybe I missed something, but Phil didn't see his shadow, ergo (don't you love that word)..early Spring! We used to have Haddonfield Georgie, but a big, ugly wooden fence prevents him from making his daily appearance in my yard!

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