…Phil has also told us after winter, you’re looking forward to one of the most beautiful and brightest springs you’ve ever seen.
- Groundhog Day 2021 was held virtually this year due to the pandemic, with only cardboard cutout fans to cheer Phil on as he emerged from his burrow in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania—a small town about 80 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
- How does it work? When Phil surfaces at first light, the presence of a shadow determines a prediction for an early spring or weeks more of winter: “Tradition says Phil seeing his shadow is a sign that the next six weeks will bring wintry weather. If Phil doesn’t see his shadow, it means an early spring.”
- The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club claims it’s been the same groundhog since the tradition officially began, more than 130 years ago. But the average lifespan of a groundhog in captivity is only 9 to 14 years. The workers at the Groundhog Club say they feed Phil a special “elixir of life” or “groundhog punch” to make him immortal.
- Bummed about a long winter? Don’t worry. One source compiled different research on Punxsutawney Phil’s predicitions – and apparently he’s only right about 35-39% of the time (depending on what time frame you look at). His track record is much better when he predicts an early spring.
Why It Matters: Six more weeks of winter may seem like a particular blow this year, with the pandemic forcing many to stay inside and social distance. Celebrated since 1887, the holiday reminds us that, no matter how long and dark the season, spring will always come.
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by Jenna Lee,