THE 135th Groundhog Day celebration today, Tuesday, February 2 will not have guests present on the grounds due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But neither the pandemic nor the heavy snowfall which was expected for today in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where the celebration takes place annually, will stop Phil the groundhog from marking the event.
The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club will hold the virtual celebration at Gobbler’s Knob, in the 5,500 inhabitant town, as usual, but only a chosen few will be present, instead of the usual thousands of visitors.
Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s president, Jeffrey Lundy, said on their website that “the health and safety of our faithful followers and everyone associated with Phil’s prognostication has been our number one priority”.
The event will be streamed live at 12.30pm Spanish time, so that people can see Phil come out of his burrow, see the weather conditions and potentially see his shadow.
According to tradition, the Prognostication goes like this: if Phil sees his shadow, he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of winter and returns to his hole; if not, spring is just around the corner.
The origins of Groundhog Day date back to the early days of Christianity in Europe, according to the Pennsylvania Tourism Office.
Pennsylvania German settlers brought the tradition with them and saw the appearance of certain animals as it being time to prepare for Spring.
The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club records date back to 1887, with the club protecting and caring for Punxsutawney Phil.
Although it puts a damper on things, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that he is only right 40 per cent of the time.
Punxsutawney Groundhog Club records also showed that Phil is most likely to see his shadow and has only predicted an early spring 20 times in 133 years.
Don’t forget! No in person attendance this year—Tune in live starting at 6:30 a.m. visit https://t.co/bk6yugfRLX for more details! #groundhogday #punxsutawneyphil #ghd2021 #virtual 🎩🐾 https://t.co/8mTLXjS1Gm
— Punxsutawney Phil (@GroundhogClub) February 2, 2021
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