Entertainment

Punxsutawney Phil predicts six more weeks of winter

The annual Groundhog Day event in Pennsylvania has its origin in a German legend about a furry rodent.
The annual Groundhog Day event in Pennsylvania has its origin in a German legend about a furry rodent.

There will be six more weeks of winter, Punxsutawney Phil predicted as he emerged from his burrow to perform his Groundhog Day duties.

Thousands of people from around the nation and other countries gathered at Gobbler’s Knob in Pennsylvania as members of the famous animal’s “inner circle” summoned him from his tree stump at dawn to learn if he had seen his shadow, a message they said Phil communicated in “groundhogese”.

After Phil’s prediction was announced, the crowd repeatedly chanted “six more weeks!”

According to folklore, spring would come early if he did not see it.

The event took place virtually last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, depriving the community, about 65 miles north east of Pittsburgh, of a boost from tourists.

It was streamed live and seen by more than 15,000 viewers worldwide at one point. About 150 cardboard cutouts of fans were there to “watch”.

The annual event has its origin in a German legend about a furry rodent.

According to records dating back to 1887, Phil has predicted winter more than 100 times. Ten years were lost because no records were kept, organisers said.

Punxsutawney Phil may be the most famous groundhog seer but he is certainly not the only one, and one competitor disagreed with his prediction.

New York City’s Staten Island Chuck expects an early spring, according to Staten Island district attorney Michael McMahon, who presided over a ceremony that was livestreamed from Chuck’s home at Staten Island Zoo.

“He did not see his shadow. We will have an early spring,” Mr McMahon announced.

New York mayor Eric Adams did not attend the ceremony but said in a videotaped message: “Chuck has been very accurate in his predictions since 1981. I think I can speak for all New Yorkers when I say, ‘Chuck, please don’t see your shadow’.”