Crowds gather with anticipation every Feb. 2 to see if groundhogs throughout the area see their shadow to signal another six weeks of winter. This year, Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter, while New York City’s Staten Island Chuck called for an early spring.
Here are some fast facts about the day and the critters that make the predictions.
A Myth Turns Into Reality
The tradition of Groundhog Day can be traced to a German myth on Candlemas Day. It was believed that if any animal came out from hibernation on Feb. 2 and saw their shadow, there would be six more weeks of winter. The myth was turned into a reality in the early 1880s, when Pennsylvanian settlers searched for a groundhog to see the shadow and local newspapers reported about the hunt. Since that day, the celebration spread throughout the country.