The groundhog says…


Emily Dvareckas/The Hawks' Herald

The groundhog saw his shadow on Feb. 2, which means six more weeks of winter.

The tradition of Groundhog Day began in February of 1887 in Punxsutawney, Pa. when local newspaper editor Clymer Freas went to a group of businessmen and groundhog hunters to describe his idea of a groundhog predicting whether there would be an early spring or a long winter.

Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather Prophet Extraordinary — the full name given to the groundhog that has been predicting the length of winter since 1886. The special rodent has predicted six more weeks of winter for 2022.

Over the years, his predictions have been correct less than 50% of the time, meaning it would be more accurate to flip a coin to determine the length of winter.

Groundhogs are known for being able to predict the end of winter but not with their shadows. When these animals start leaving their hibernation hideaways, it is a sign that winter is ending soon. On Feb. 2 of each year, the “inner circle” of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club — most notable for their tuxedos and top hats — prepare two scrolls: one saying there will be six more weeks of winter and the other saying there will be an early spring.

When daybreak arrives on Feb. 2, Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his burrow and is assisted by one of his handlers to a tree stump. According to the inner circle, the groundhog speaks to the President of the circle in a language known as “Groundhogese” and tells him whether or not he saw his shadow. The President then translates what Phil has said and directs the Vice President to read from the appropriate scroll.