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Punxsutawney Phil Declares Early Spring

Don't let Saturday's snowfall fool you -- spring will come early this year!

Punxsutawney Phil, "King of the Groundhogs," has declared an early spring!  

Here is Punxsutawney Phil's official statement from Groundhog.org:

On this February 2nd, 2013,
the One Hundred and Twenty Seventh Annual Trek of the 
Punxsutawney Groundhog Club at Gobbler’s Knob….

Punxsutawney Phil, the King of the Groundhogs,
Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of Prognosticators,
Weather Prophet without Peer,
was awakened from his borrow at 7:28 am
with a tap of the President’s cane.

Phil and President Deeley conversed in Groundhogese
and Phil directed him to the chosen Prognostication scroll.

The President tapped the chosen scroll and
directed Phil’s Prediction be proclaimed:

My new Knob entrance is a sight to behold
Like my faithful followers, strong and bold

And so ye faithful,
there is no shadow to see
An early Spring for you and me.

Groundhog Day was on Saturday, Feb. 2 this year, and the recent Arctic temperatures are giving the day a bit more resonance than usual.

According to the myth, if a groundhog sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter; if he does not, spring is right around the corner.

Last year, Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter while Staten Island Chuck called for an early spring.

Groundhog Day and other similar legends are based on the beliefs of Europeans, but the true origins of the holiday are lost in time. The day originated from the Germans, Scots and early Christian Europeans.

It is celebrated every year on Feb. 2. On this day, a groundhog comes out of its burrow and checks for his shadow to determine how soon spring will arrive.

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Celebrate locally at the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum in Cornwall: ring in the day by learning all about groundhogs, enjoy games and crafts and find out how many weeks of winter remain. Dress warm, because the event includes a guided walk to search for shadows.

Begins at 10 a.m. Feb. 2. For adults and children ages 5 and up. $8 adults, $5 children. Reservations required. Across from 174 Angola Rd., Cornwall. 845-534-5506, ext. 204. hhnaturemuseum.org.

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Groundhog Day as we know it in the U.S. started because the Pennsylvania Dutch farmers wanted to know if spring was coming early or not. That information helped them decide when they should plant seeds and half their hay.

Europeans used hedgehogs as the animal that determined the season change but Pennsylvania Dutch farmers chose the groundhog because they were found in greater numbers in North America. Groundhog Day stemmed from the ancient traditions of Candlemas, a holiday that originated in early Christian Europe that was celebrated by the Germans.

In central Pennsylvania, the people of Punxsutawney hold celebrations as they wait for Punxsutawney Phil, the native groundhog resident of the town, to come out of his burrow and check for his shadow.

Tell Us: Do you think Phil's prediction will be correct? Share your opinion in the comments section below.

lillian philbin February 03, 2013 at 05:56 PM
Spring can't come fast enough! Believing in Phil's prediction.

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