Punxsutawney Phil strikes again

Olivia Hetherington, Staff Writer

Groundhog Day is a popular North American tradition observed in the United States, Canada and Australia on Feb. 2. The first Groundhog Day celebration was held on Feb. 2, 1877, at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, which inspired the U.S. groundhog’s name. However, the tradition of using rodents to predict the weather dates back much earlier and was brought to the U.S. by German immigrants. The tradition was so special to those that they continued to celebrate it each year and has now become a beloved tradition here.

How does a groundhog make the prediction? The tradition is derived from the Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that if a groundhog emerges from its burrows on a clear day and sees its shadow it will retreat to its den and winter will go on for six more weeks; if it does not see its shadow spring will arrive early. 

Right before Groundhog Day in 2022, there were rumors of Punxsutawney Phil dying. However, fans of Groundhog Day were happy to know that its shining star, was well. Indeed, the famous animal emerged from his burrow on February 2nd and predicted 6 weeks of more winter.

On the morning of February 2, the weather-predicting rodent, Punxsutawney Phil, saw his shadow as he poked his head out of his burrow. However, many might be confused seeing as this winter has yielded zero snow so far, and temperatures have been in the high 40s. These suspicions may be justified, considering that Punxsutawney Phil has an accuracy rate of 46%, and in the past 50 predictions has predicted winter 36 times. While his prediction does not appear to be too accurate, maybe winter was waiting for him and his shadow to appear.

The fun tradition is beloved by many because it brings countries together in good spirit. It also helps us remember our history and how far we have come. In the next six weeks we will just have to wait and see if Punxsutawney Phil was the key to bringing snow to Maryland, or if spring showers will be taking place of snow storms.