AP – The Groundhog Day star didn’t see his shadow, according to the inner circle at Gobbler’s Knob.
Per tradition, that means an early spring.
Yep, some people eat groundhogs
Groundhogs are herbivores that are themselves edible to humans, although they are not widely consumed.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission says about 36,000 hunters reported killing more than 200,000 groundhogs last year.
Game Commission spokesperson Travis Lau found groundhog a bit stinky to clean and thick-skinned, but “actually really good” and “more like beef than venison.”
Phil’s accuracy rate is only 40%, according to the NOAA
Some well-meaning efforts have sought to determine Phil’s accuracy, but what “six weeks of winter” means is debatable. By all accounts, the furry prognosticator predicts more winter far more often than he predicts an early spring.
And claims that a groundhog has or has not seen its shadow — and that it’s able to communicate that to a human — are also fair territory for skeptics and the humor impaired.
Among the skeptics is the National Centers for Environmental Information, within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The government agency last year compared Phil’s record with U.S. national temperatures over the prior decade and concluded he was right only 40% of the time.
Punxsutawney is an area that Pennsylvania Germans settled — and in the late 1880s started celebrating the holiday by picnicking, hunting and eating groundhogs.
Members of Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, organized in 1899, care for Phil at a customized space beside Punxsutawney Memorial Library — where there’s a window with a view into the creature’s burrow.
It was badgers or bears before it became groundhogs
Ancient people would watch the sun, stars and animal behavior to guide farming practices and other decisions, and the practice of watching an animal’s emergence from winter hibernation to forecast weather has roots in a similar German tradition involving badgers or bears.
Pennsylvania Germans apparently substituted the groundhog, endemic to the eastern and midwestern United States.
Historians have found a reference in an 1841 diary to groundhog weather forecasts in early February among families of German descent in Morgantown, Pennsylvania.
Why is Groundhog Day celebrated on Feb. 2?
It’s part of a tradition rooted in European agricultural life, marking the midpoint between the shortest day of the year on the winter solstice and the spring equinox.
What the Celts called Imbolc is also around when Christians celebrate Candlemas, timed to Joseph and Mary’s presentation of Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem.