You may have heard the news, but in case you didn’t — good old Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning. That means that he’s returned to his burrow to hunker down for another six weeks of winter.
According to the weather-forecasting rodent, you can expect Spring to unofficially arrive around March 16. Sure that’s a little earlier than what the calendar says, but we don’t really mind — we’ll take it when we can, even if Phil could have made it even earlier.
The Groundhog Day tradition is a holdover from a centuries old Christian tradition called Candlemas. During that ceremony, priests bless the candles that would be used throughout the year. That holiday also coincided with more ancient traditions that suggested a sacred bear or badger could predict the changing of the seasons.
When those traditions migrated to North America, the Germans that settled in Pennsylvania appointed the groundhog as their weatherman.
This tradition has been in the Americas since at least the mid-1800s. By 1887, Punxsutawney Phil was making his predictions and gaining fame. He’s missed at least one year along the way — 1943 — because of World War II.
So just how accurate has Phil been over the years? According to one study that looked at his predictions, he’s only been correct 37% of the time in more than 100 attempts.
He’s not exactly beating the odds. With that in mind, it might be best to start planning your garden now.
At our website, you can find plenty of help for your gardening, outdoor decor and outdoor entertaining needs with our How-To section and, of course, this very blog.