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Groundhog Day: 5 freakish things you don't know about this quirky tradition

02 February 2018

Legend has it that means six more weeks of winter. Although the myth is greatly dependent on weather conditions, many still gather around Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney to wait for the famous Marmota monax, as it is scientifically known, to deliver the season's weather news.

However, if people can make it down to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania-located about 80 miles northeast of Pittsburgh-they can watch the groundhog do his thing via live stream at 6 a.m. ET.

This tradition started in Europe as Candlemas Day. This year will be the 132nd ceremony.

Punxsutawney Phil, the legendary groundhog forecaster of Punxsutawney, Pa., saw his shadow Friday, meaning the already bitter winter will continue for six more weeks.

Last year, Phil saw his shadow, prompting a continued winter but animal meteorologists across the across the country disagreed.

The National Today data science team surveyed 1,000 people about their predictions of Groundhog Day, a popular tradition celebrated in the U.S. and Canada on Feb 2.

However, New York's most famous groundhog, Staten Island Chuck, left his burrow at 7:30am to find no trace of his shadow. And while your average groundhog (Marmota monax) in captivity lives about 10 years, the marmot's caregivers maintain there has been only one furry forecaster.


Did the groundhog see its shadow?

Groundhog Day originates from the European holiday known as Candlemas, a Christian "celebration of lights" in the dreary midwinter of February 2.

It's a century-old tradition that people can't get enough of-Punxsutawney Phil, the United States' most famous groundhog, comes out of hibernation on February 2 and forecasts the weather for the six weeks to follow.

Potomac Phil's weather predictions always coincide with that of Punxsutawney Phil, leading to accusations of collusion between the two groundhogs, something Potomac Phil's handlers have denied. He is coming off a seven-year streak of correct predictions. Spring came early in 2016, thanks to a super El Nino. One example of the backlash of an early spring was the year of 2012. Let's be clear, taken at face value, they're not.

Groundhog Day was immortalized by the iconic 1993 Bill Murray movie of the same name.

Since 1988, he has been right 14 times and wrong a whopping 16 times.

Groundhog Day: 5 freakish things you don't know about this quirky tradition