Today is Groundhog Day and in observance I did a little research.
The little varmint at the crux of the matter is Punxsutawney Phil, who lives at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, PA.
It’s really simple. Either he sees his shadow or he doesn’t.
The whole thing derives from a Pennsylvania Dutch superstition.
According to tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole on this day and sees its shadow, it gets scared and runs back into its burrow, predicting six more weeks of winter weather; no shadow, because of cloudiness, means an early spring.
The largest Groundhog Day celebration is held in Punxsutawney where crowds as large as 40,000 gather each year (nearly eight times the year-round population of the town that is just a little smaller than Purcell).
The first official trek to Gobbler’s Knob was made on February 2, 1887 the same year The Purcell Register began publishing.
Canada also celebrates Groundhog Day.
The movie “Groundhog Day” from 1993, starring comedian Bill Murray, made Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania famous worldwide. The film’s plot added new meaning to the term “Groundhog Day” as something that repeats itself endlessly.
And, in like manner, we watch the classic film every February 2, which happens to be the birthday of Suzanne McAuley and Pam Dillinger.
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