Thursday, February 2, 2023

Will The Groundhog Be Right in 2023?

February 2. The last February felt like just minutes ago.  Why does time speed by so quickly?

I feel duty bound to speak about this weirdest of holidays.

The rules are simple.

If the groundhog called Punxsutawney Phil (he or she lives in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania) sees its shadow, we have six more weeks of winter.  If the groundhog doesn't see its shadow, we get an early spring.  What does the groundhog get out of it?  An interrupted sleep and being held by obnoxious (to Phil) humans.

The groundhog usually sees his shadow because, hey, this is the Northeast United States and we don't get early springs here.  Well, we did get one in 2012, but don't bet on it this year.  We'll know for sure at 6:30 am today and here is the prediction:

Six more weeks of winter! (surprise)

This celebration has its own website.  They've been annoying groundhogs since 1887, when 1887's annoyed groundhog saw its shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter.  Well, keep in mind that's its prediction rate hovers around 40%.  But we keep doing it each year.

It also has its own history.  

 In 2013, it didn't see its shadow and we still got six more weeks of winter.

The groundhog almost got the death penalty for that one.

In 2016, it was unseasonably warm for us.  This year?  It got up to 42F (5.5 Celsius) at our house yesterday. This post from 2014 shows a more typical February day.

2020, as we prepared to enter a pandemic period, the groundhog did not see its shadow.  But the weather did not listen, and we had a miserable spring, in the midst of our lockdown.  We even got snow in May, where I live in New York State.

In 2022, I featured a picture of a groundhog.  As I blogged back in 2013: "I must admit, I do not have many warm and fuzzy feelings when it comes to groundhogs.  They have eaten too much of my gardens over the years for me to ever do anything nice for them. It's true the sustainable lifestyle means paying close attention to the clues Nature gives us, but I think dragging one out so it can see its shadow on live TV is a bit much."

But it does give us a moment of levity, something we desperately need.

What do you think of Groundhog Day?


  1. ...every year spring comes when it comes.


  2. Long Island has two ‘official’ groundhogs, Malverne Mel and Holbrook Hal. And there’s also Staten Island Chuck. They don’t even agree with each other, and they usually don’t agree with Phil.

    If I really want to know the weather, I’ll ask a meteorologist, not a rodent.

  3. And if you are my son living in Texas, what difference does it make - They had a huge ice storm. I looked out at blue sky this morning, a rarity lately, and thought of Phil. I rely on the calendar more than the groundhog.

  4. Oh gosh, no m ore winter, please! Carol C

  5. In general, I trust critters with innate knowing. The problem with groundhog day is all the human hoopla muddles the reliability.

  6. I've never understood the whole "sees its shadow" thing. It feels like it's backwards, that if he sees his shadow it should be an early spring. But where I'm at, the whole thing is irrelevant. We don't get a true winter. We can have quite nice weather in January and February (although not so much this year so far).

  7. Portland's (Oregon's Portland) Stumptown Fil (a beaver) saw his shadow this morning.
    Groundhog Day is the same day, with the same shadow foretelling spring, or not, as Candlemas Day, where the old song is...
    "If Candlemas be fair and bright, / Come, Winter, have another flight; / If Candlemas bring clouds and rain, / Go, Winter, and come not again."
    I agree with Liz, it sounds backwards.

  8. When there are enough people believing in it, it will most likely become true

  9. The way it was explained to me, if he sees his shadow, there'll be six more weeks of winter; if not, spring is right around the corner and will be here in... about six weeks...

  10. It's past time when we should dispense with this idiotic ritual and let the groundhog hibernate in peace.


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