Groundhog Day: Guest claims Punxsutawney Phil is 135-years-old
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Americans are celebrating Groundhog day today, a festival that marks the day the groundhog is said to come out of its hole at the end of hibernation. The tradition is observed all across the United States and Canada on February 2, but it derives from the Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that the groundhog comes out on this specific day after seeing its shadow due to clear weather. Punxutawney Phil is the central figure of Pennsylvania’s Groundhog Day celebration, and he’s about to emerge from his home any minute now. Here’s how you can watch it.
Crowds as large as 40,000 gather every year in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to celebrate Groundhog day and have done for more than 100 years.
The event is light-hearted and depends on a suspension of disbelief, but it’s supposed to mark the final six weeks of winter.
Every year at daybreak on February 2, Punxsutawney Phil a supposed 135-year-old groundhog emerges from his burrow.
The tradition comes from the Pennsylvanian Dutch who immigrated from Germanic-speaking areas of Europe and had a tradition called Badger Day on February 2.
On Badget Day, if a badger emerging found it to be a sunny day and cast a shadow, it was considered a sign of a prolonged winter.
In this tradition, the Germans believed that winter would be four weeks longer.
The Americans, however, use groundhogs and believe that if the groundhog sees a sunny day there will be six more weeks of winter.
Groundhog day has been celebrated in the USA since around 1840 but the first reported Groundhog Day celebration was made by the Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania in 1886.
Today, nearly eight times the regular population of the town gather to see Phill the groundhog come out of his burrow.
In 2019, the groundhog did not see its shadow. As the legend goes, this meant Americans could look forward to an early spring.
What time and how to watch Punxsutawney Phil today
You can watch Punxsutawney Phil coming out of his burrow at 7.25am Eastern Time (12.25pm in the UK) and you don’t have to be in Pennsylvania to see the action.
The event is being streamed on Youtube here.
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