Punxsutawney Phil has predicted there will be six more weeks of winter as he emerged from his burrow to perform his Groundhog Day duties.
Members of Phil’s “inner circle” woke up the furry critter at 7.25am at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to see whether he would see his shadow or not.
Shortly after this year’s prediction was revealed, one of the members of the inner circle shared a message and said Phil had told him earlier in the day: “After winter, you’re looking forward to one of the most beautiful and brightest springs you’ve ever seen.”
Another member of the “inner circle” noted the uniqueness of the past year.
“People have been referencing Groundhog Day. It has felt like at times we’re all living the same day over and over again,” one of the members said. “Groundhog Day also shows us that the monotony ends. The cycle will be broken.”
He added: “Today actually is Groundhog Day, there’s only one. There is quite literally a new day coming over the horizon.”
The spectacle that is Groundhog Day still went on, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, revellers were not able to see Phil and celebrate in person. This year, it was all virtual and included cardboard cut-outs to represent spectators.
A livestream, which had more than 15,000 viewers at one point, played footage from previous Groundhog Days ahead of the big reveal.
Then of course, the prognosticator of prognosticators emerged at dawn. The lore goes that if he sees his shadow as he did this year, there will be six more weeks of winter. If he does not, spring comes early.
Wearing top hats, members of the club summoned Phil from a new tree stump.
“You look beautiful,” club president Jeff Lundy told Phil, who directed members to one of two scrolls.
A club member announced: “We have all passed through the darkness of night, but now see hope in morning’s bright light. But now when I turn to see, there’s a perfect shadow cast of me.”
The livestream from Gobbler’s Knob, a tiny hill just outside Punxsutawney about 65 miles north-east of Pittsburgh, is made possible by the Pennsylvania Tourism Office’s Holi-stay PA. The event there – always on February 2 – dates back to 1887.