Today, a crowd gathered at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa., to hear the Groundhog Club emcee announce that Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow this morning, meaning an early spring this year.

Have you ever wondered why Americans tune in every Feb. 2 to find out if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow? Believe it or not, the famous groundhog has been our nation’s winter weather forecaster for 130 years. The tradition originated from the Christian tradition of Candlemas Day during which clergy would bless and distribute candles for the winter to represent how long the winter would be. The Germans came up with a new twist on this tradition and began using a hedgehog as a means of predicting the weather. This tradition traveled with the German settlers to Pennsylvania, where they switched from using hedgehogs to groundhogs.

So how did Phil the groundhog become the preeminent rodent weather forecaster?

In 1887, a newspaper editor from the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club declared Phil as America’s only true weather-forecasting groundhog. And the line of groundhogs from Punxsutawney has been known as Phil ever since.

Some may question the accuracy of Punxsutawney Phil’s forecasts, but we at Sip & Savor hope his prediction of an early spring is correct!