Groundhog Day 2022: Punxsutawney Phil Predicts Six More Weeks of Winter

Aly Delp

Aly Delp

Published February 2, 2022 5:59 am

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (EYT) – Pennsylvania’s own world-famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow early Wednesday morning, predicting six more weeks of winter.

Members of the “Inner Circle” announced the furry rodent’s official “forecast” around 7:25 a.m. at Gobbler’s Knob.

After a virtual event in 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, residents of Punxsutawney and visitors from across the nation returned to Gobbler’s Knob in large numbers this year to see Phil make his highly-anticipated weather prognostication during Pennsylvania’s unique Groundhog Day celebration.

Officials called it the “largest mid-week crowd in the history of Groundhog Day.”

The event has been known to attract up to 30,000 visitors to Punxsutawney, Jefferson County, located about 80 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

Punxsutawney was originally a Native American campsite. Its location is situated halfway between the Allegheny and Susquehanna rivers, which made it convenient for travel. In fact, the town is located on the earliest known trail to the east, the Shamokin Path. Punxsutawney was officially incorporated as a borough in 1850 and has a current population of nearly 5,500.

Other attractions in Punxsutawney include the Groundhog Visitor’s Center, Weather Discover Center, Mahoning Shadow Trail, Phil’s Borrow at the Punxsutawney Memorial Library, and the Phantastic Phils – a public art project that includes 33 larger-than-life fiberglass groundhogs all creatively painted and designed by local and national artists.

Groundhog Day, which is celebrated annually on February 2, is based on a legend that traverses centuries. Its origins clouded in the mists of time with ethnic cultures and animals awakening on specific dates. Myths such as this tie our present to the distant past when nature did, indeed, influence our lives.

Tradition in Germany was to look to the hedgehog on February 2 to judge by its behavior the coming weather. German settlers to Pennsylvania brought this belief with them but found no hedgehogs here. They did, however, find an abundance of groundhogs, and a new tradition was born.

The first official Groundhog Day was celebrated in Punxsutawney, PA, in 1887. It was that day that the Groundhog first came out of his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow.

According to tradition, if he sees his shadow, he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole. However, if the day is cloudy and, hence, shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.

Phil has predicted six more weeks of winter weather 107 times in 136 years.

The groundhog tradition stems from the German tradition and other similar beliefs associated with Candlemas Day (February 2) and the days of early Christians in Europe. For centuries, the custom was to have the clergy bless candles and distribute them to the people. Even then, it marked a milestone in the winter and the weather that day was important.

Recent Articles

Community Partner