Winter Is Coming
Every February comes a holiday that is anticipated by many wanting to know about the year’s prediction, Groundhog Day. This national holiday takes place on the second day of February each year. Thousands of people go out to Punxsutawney, Philadelphia, just to see the groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, determine the year’s future weather forecast. According to the legend, which began with Pennsylvania’s earliest settlers, if Phil sees his shadow the United States is on track to have six more weeks of winter weather. However, if Phil doesn’t see his shadow then the country should expect warmer temperatures as well as the arrival of an early spring.
Groundhog Day was first held in Punxsutawney in the 1800’s and was created from the early settlers’ known legend of Candlemas Day, which states, “For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day, so far will the snow swirl in May…” Even before the legend of Candlemas Day, the idea of Groundhog Day started from ancient celebrations for the midway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, which is also the day that is right in the middle of astronomical winter. According to superstition, sunny skies on this particular day signified a stormy and cold second half of winter; however, cloudy skies indicated the arrival of sunny and warm weather.
The groundhog famous for all of these predictions is none other than Punxsutawney Phil. It is said by The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, that he was named after King Phillip, formerly known as Metacomet of the Wampanoag tribe. His ability to predict the upcoming weather is what made him the highlight of Groundhog Day and the inspiration behind it all.
For those in the seasonable states wishing for warmer weather, Punxsutawney Phil may have another plan. It appears, from the weather in Punxsutawney, Philadelphia, that the conditions will be such that Phil can see his shadow which means that there could possibly be cold and gloomy weather still to come. However, because the weather fluctuates, Punxsutawney Phil could not see his shadow and warmer weather may come. The nation will unfortunately have to wait for this wanted information until he gives his forecast.
As of February 2, 2017, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, which means that there will be six more weeks of winter this year.