Groundhog Day: How it all started

Punxsutawney Phil Season Prediction Winter Shadow Pennsylvania

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If you thought winter was brutal this year, strap in for another six weeks of bitter cold.

Maybe Punxsutawney Phil is right - forecasts seem to agree with the groundhog that winter weather is here to stay. Weeks of preparation go into carrying out the events surrounding Punxsutawney Phil's annual prognostication, and hours are poured into the final few days ahead of welcoming thousands of guests to town.

This tradition started in Europe as Candlemas Day, an early Christian holiday involving candles. This year marked the 132nd ceremony, which brought visitors from around the world.

The results of Groundhog Day 2018 are in: According to legend, we're in for six more long stretches of winter in light of the fact that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow.

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Phil may be the most famous groundhog in the USA, but he isn't the most accurate.

New York City has Staten Island Chuck. And while your average groundhog (Marmota monax) in captivity lives about 10 years, the marmot's caregivers maintain there has been only one furry forecaster. If Potomac Phil sees his shadow, D.C. can expect to see six more weeks of political gridlock.

"No matter what Phil says (Friday), we are all celebrating something", WTAJ-TV chief meteorologist Joe Murgo, who has covered Groundhog day in Punxsutawney for 17 years, told

The custom is about 130 years old and is celebrated officially in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, with a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil.

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If the groundhog comes out and the day is cloudy and he can not see his shadow, he will take this as a sign of spring and stay above the ground. If not, we're in for an early spring. When Punxsutawney Phil is not predicting the weather, reportedly lives near the town library with his wife Phyllis.

On Feb. 2, the halfway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox, Germans turned to badgers to predict the future of the weather. Let's be clear, taken at face value, they're not.

Either that, or every day they're surrounded by groundhogs.

Others tend to hold their breath in hopes a TV weatherman, played by Bill Murray, figures out how to break out of the cycle of reliving the same day over and over. Since 1988, the groundhog was "correct" 14 times and "wrong" 16 times.

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