GROUNDHOGGERS are gearing up to see whether Punxsutawney Phil will predict an extended winter, or if spring is looming.
The bucktoothed rodent named Punxsutawney Phil was made famous in Bill Murray's 1993 film, Groundhog Day.
What is Groundhog Day?
According to lore, if the groundhog emerges from his burrow on February 2 and sees his shadow, he will be frightened back into his hole.
This signals another six weeks of a chilly winter.
But a cloudy day – and no shadow of himself – means winter will end early, as spring is not too far away.
Groundhog Day features a bucktoothed rodent named Punxsutawney Phil.
Before a large crowd chanting “Phil, Phil, Phil” in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, about 80miles (129km) northeast of Pittsburgh, the groundhog delivers his annual season prediction just after sunrise.
When is Groundhog Day 2021?
Groundhog Day will be hosted online after sunrise on Tuesday, February 2, 2021, from 6am to 8am (Eastern).
Festivities include a 'Groundhog Special', followed by Phil's live prognostication (prophesying future event).
Phil will leave his burrow at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
After observing the weather conditions and looking for his shadow, Phil will then make his prediction for the remainder of winter.
The event traditionally sees crowds gather on a small hill known as Gobbler’s Knob for the festivities in Pennsylvania.
But this year, because of the rampant Covid pandemic, organizers have said that no visitors can attend the spectacle.
They explained:"The health and safety of our faithful followers and everyone associated with Phil's prognostication has been our number one priority.
"It has been determined that there will not be any in person attendance or guests on the grounds as the potential Covid risks to overcome are too great."
Instead, Phil's followers can view the live ceremony and prognostication via TV, social media and livestreaming.
A web link of the telecast is also provided by PCN on the Pennsylvania tourism website.
"We are developing numerous live internet, website and virtual events and interactions that will take the place of the traditional in person events.
"Information will be listed on our website: www.groundhog.org," the organizers add.
What time will the groundhog come out?
Furry forecaster Punxsutawney Phil is expected to make his grand appearance after leaving his burrow at about 7.25am (ET).
Is Groundhog Day a national holiday?
The tradition has been going since 1886, but it is an observance, not a public holiday in the United States.
The groundhog tradition stems from similar beliefs associated with Candlemas Day and the days of early Christians in Europe.
What’s a groundhog?
Woodchuck and groundhog are names for the same rodent, the Marmota monax.
Related to the squirrel, they eat mainly green plants like dandelion, clover and grasses.
Punxsutawney Phil weighs 20 pounds (9 kg) and is 22 inches long
Like many animals, groundhogs hibernate during the winter.
They often emerge from their underground burrows in early February, when Groundhog Day is marked
Although groundhogs live for six to eight years, legend has it that Phil, who is named after King Philip, has been making predictions for over a century thanks to a magic elixir that he drinks every summer to get seven more years of life.
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