Happy Groundhog Day 2020!
Canadian rodents and south of the border, Punxsutawney Phil are hard at work today.
Longer winter or an early spring? Groundhogs make yearly predictions
Shubenacadie Sam: ” I predict 6 more weeks of winter!”
In the midst of a winter season that has brought record-breaking snowfall, intense ice storms and frigid temperatures, Canadians across the country will be waiting with baited breath on Sunday to see what a few furry rodents have to say about when they can expect some reprieve.
Every Feb. 2, a select few groundhogs are woken weeks before they would wake naturally from hibernation to predict the weather.
According to a centuries-old legend, if the groundhog sees its shadow, it will return to its burrow, indicating six more weeks of winter.
If the groundhog doesn’t retreat into hiding, spring will come early.
The Groundhog Day tradition is celebrated across the country and in the United States.
Here is a list of prognosticating groundhogs and what each said about when spring will arrive.
Shubenacadie Sam lives at the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park in Nova Scotia.
Living on the east coast, Sam is the first rodent to make a prediction in Canada on Groundhog Day.
Normally, the park hosts a special event on Feb. 2 to celebrate Groundhog Day, however, this year it was cancelled due to weather concerns.
But the weather didn’t stop Sam from making his prediction.
Wiarton Willie is a prognosticating groundhog who lives in the town of South Bruce Peninsula in Ontario.
According to his website, he is the “most famous groundhog in Canada and the only albino weather prognosticator in the world.”
Each year the town of South Bruce Peninsula holds a week-long festival which draws thousands of visitors to celebrate Willie’s prediction.
This year, the Groundhog Day celebration will begin at 7 a.m. with a fireworks display at Bluewater Park, followed by morning festivities and breakfast.
Willie is scheduled to make his official prediction at 8:07 a.m. ET.
Fred la Marmotte is the official groundhog of Quebec, and lives in the town of Val-d’Espoir in the Perce region of the province.
He and his father have been making predictions on the arrival of spring since 2010.
According to Fred’s website, this year the Groundhog Day festivities will begin at 6:15 a.m. ET.
Winnipeg Wynn lives at the Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitiation Centre (PWRC) in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Wyn was taken in by staff at PWRC in 2016.
Now, she predicts when spring will come, but not how the other groundhogs do.
Staff at the rehab centre staff predict seasonal change by observing Wynn over time and understanding her behaviours.
The centre will share Wynn’s prediction on Facebook on Groundhog Day.
While groundhogs can be found in woodlands across Canada and the United States, in Alberta, they are limited to Peace River Country.
The furry critters are not known to live in the southern part of the province.
So, lacking a real groundhog, Alberta uses Balzac Billy — which is a person in a groundhog costume — to predict when spring will come.
Known as the “Prairie Prognosticator,” Billy is scheduled to make his prediction at 10 a.m. ET on Groundhog Day.
In the American state of Pennsylvania, lives another prognosticating groundhog.
Each year on Groundhog Day, a festival is held and Punxsutawney Phil — named after his home town — makes his prediction.
This year Phil predicted spring will come early. Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog on Sunday declared: “Spring will be early, it’s a certainty.”
Phil gained international celebrity after he was featured in the 1993 film Groundhog Day.
According to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, here are 5 bizarre things you don’t know about this quirky tradition
1. Punxsutawney Phil has an “inner circle.” Those men in top hats aren’t random. They’re called the “inner circle.” They’re responsible for planning the events around Groundhog Day (no small feat, considering this year’s events span more than a week) and caring for Phil.
2. Phil’s predictions are 100% accurate, they say. Let’s be clear, taken at face value, they’re not. The predictions are actually wrong more than they’re right. But the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club notes that the predictions aren’t geographically specific. So if Phil “predicts” a long winter, that’s probably true — somewhere in the world.
3. Phil is basically immortal. It’s been the same Punxsutawney Phil for all 132 years of the tradition, according to the club. That’s more than15 times longer than the upper end of a groundhog’s typical life span. That’s an old groundhog.
4. Club members say they make him immortal by feeding him the “groundhog punch” every year.
5. Club members say Phil can communicate. They call it “Groundhogese” and say Phil communicates his predictions to the current president of the inner circle.