Punxsutawney Phil, the world’s most famous groundhog, saw his shadow this morning.
He emerged in front of an estimated 13,000 witnesses, many dressed in gold and black to celebrate the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Super Bowl victory the day before.
The annual ritual takes place on Gobbler’s Knob, a tiny hill in Punxsutawney, a town of about 6100 residents 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club announced the forecast in a short proclamation, in which Phil acknowledged the Steeler’s 27-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
According to a superstition brought to North America by German immigrants, if a hibernating animal casts its shadow on February 2 – the Christian holiday of Candlemas–winter would last another six weeks. If no shadow was seen, spring will come early.
Three other groundhogs also make predictions on February 2nd: Shubenacadie Sam in Nova Scotia, Wiarton Willie of Wiarton, Ontario, and General Beauregard Lee of Stone Mountain, Georgia.
Those of us desperate for daffodils have a few more weeks to go.
But the birds may know something the groundhogs don’t. I saw my first robin on Saturday morning – January 31st.