6 Weeks Left of Winter Predicted By The Famous Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil
Happy February 2nd, also known as Groundhog Day. Today, the world’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow which
Happy February 2nd, also known as Groundhog Day. Today, the world’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow which [essentially] means that we have 6 more weeks left of winter. Had he not seen his shadow, well then we would have an early spring on the way. But, it is important to note that the legendary marmot isn’t as famous for getting his predictions right. (Not to give you false hope or anything).
Keep Your Winter Coats Handy (Maybe)
Previously reported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Phil’s predictions are only on par about 40 percent of the time. “You’re better off trying to decide what the rest of February and March will look like by flipping a coin,” said Judson Jones, a CNN meteorologist. In fact, since 1886, when the tradition of Groundhog Day began, an early spring has only been predicted 20 times and Phil is more likely to see his shadow, period, according to Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.
Slightly Strange But Very Cute
You’re probably wondering who decided that a groundhog could predict the length of winter. And well, yes, we were curious too.
The holiday has evolved over centuries. It began in the pre-Christian era of western Europe when the Celtic world was the predominant culture. Instead of solstices, the Celtic year has four dates which were the “turning point” of the year, one of those dates being February 1 (others being May 1, and November 1).
Because these turning point dates became essential to European culture, they Christianized them once Western Europe adopted Christianity. May 1 became May Day, November 1 became All Saints’ Day and February 1 got pushed to February 2, eventually becoming Groundhog Day- the declarer of winter’s lifespan.
However, before getting it’s longtime title, it was known as “Candlemas,” a day on which Christians would bring a candle to church to be blessed as a sign of “light and warmth for winter.” Naturalist John Ray wrote in a poem in 1678:
“If Candlemas day be fair and bright
Winter will have another flight
If on Candlemas day it be showre and rain
Winter is gone and will not come again.”
Fast forward to the 18th and 19th centuries, Pennsylvania German settlers took the tradition from Europe and decided that a groundhog was the perfect replacement for predicting winter. The holiday has since become a day in Pennsylvania when locals gather around in tuxedos excited to witness if the groundhog sees his shadow. And so, here we are. relying on a rodent to tell us the weather.
So, we might have 6 weeks left of winter but, global warming might also take the rein. Maybe flip a coin and decide for yourself.