What you should know about Groundhog Day

By Shania Shelton

Published January 31, 2020

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Groundhog Day is an American tradition that predicts when spring will arrive. It has roots in Europe associated with Candlemas Day, and Germans brought it to Pennsylvania in the 1700s.


Punxsutawney Phil is Pennsylvania's famous groundhog. His big day is February 2, when he will awaken from hibernation.

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Phil from Pennsylvania isn't the only spring-predicting groundhog. Although he is the most well-known, more than a dozen states have their own groundhogs.

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During the event, crowds watch to see whether the groundhog will see its shadow.

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So what does it mean if the groundhog sees its shadow?

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If Phil sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn't see it, spring will arrive soon.

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Phil's owners say he has correctly predicted the beginning of spring 100% of the time -- but sometimes his prediction gets lost in translation or interpretation.

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the groundhog has shown "no predictive skill" for the last few years.