It’s Groundhog Day — Again!

icicles and leavesAs if the weather in Syracuse couldn’t be any crazier – is it really acceptable that we look to an overfed and over coddled groundhog to tell us when to expect spring?  Seems folks have been getting their hopes up from the little rodent since Feb. 2, 1887, when the first “official trek” was made to Gobbler’s Knob near Punxsutawney, PA,  to remove said groundhog from his burrow.  

Officially christened “Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary,” Phil now has his own website and totally embraces social media.  When not “prognosticating,” Phil can be found participating in parades in his personal Philmobile!  Phew!

The party starts early on the eve of Groundhog’s Day in Punxsutawney, with a bonfire at 3 AM and fireworks as day breaks.  At 7:25 AM Phil is personally removed from the comfort of his heated burrow and held aloft to the thousands that have gathered.  

According to historians, German settlers arriving in the 1700’s brought the tradition of Candlemas Day, with it’s pagan origins, to mark the midpoint  between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox.  If the sun came out on Feb. 2nd, it meant six more weeks of winter.  From there the lore evolved and today, you can catch Phil doing his thing on a live webcast!

With all eyes on Phil, those of us in Syracuse know that despite his predictions and prognostications, the arrival of spring in Syracuse is not for the faint of heart or the random observations of a pampered pet.  And to truly be a “Weather Prophet Extraordinary,” one only needs to live on Tug Hill, or just north of the thruway, or on the eastern side of a Great Lake to know, there’s snow place like Central New York.

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